DOCTORS say the danger of a leg amputation appears averted

Sunday, August 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALZBURG, Austria (AP) _ Following Austrian ski star Hermann Maier's serious motorcycle accident, doctors said Sunday the danger of an amputation of his right leg appears averted.

Late Friday, Maier suffered multiple injuries, including a complicated open bone fracture, when he failed to avoid hitting a car that was believed to have made an illegal turn to the left and landed in a ditch. Details of the accident were still being investigated.

The ``Herminator,'' as he is called by his numerous fans for his daredevil style, underwent a seven-hour surgery at a Salzburg clinic, including a skin transplant from his upper arm.

``Hermann Maier is in a much better condition than he was Saturday,'' Alois Karlbauer, the hospital's medical director, said, as quoted by the Austria Press Agency. He also said initial kidney problems were well under control.

Surgeon Arthur Trost said that Maier was deeply shocked after his leg got wedged by the motorcycle and was almost squeezed off upon impact. ``He really panicked,'' the doctor said.

However, doctors practically ruled out the need for an amputation, saying their prominent patient was recovering and was in a much better mental condition than Saturday.

``He has seen for himself that his leg is still there and that he can move his toes,'' Trost was quoted as saying.

According to APA, Trost also said Maier never mentioned skiing, he only talked about whether he would be able to walk again.

On Saturday, doctors said it was unclear whether the reigning World Cup champion will be able to ski again.