U.S. national soccer team forward Charlie Davies had several broken bones and a lacerated bladder after a one-vehicle accident Tuesday in the Washington, D.C., area in which another person was killed.
Davies underwent several hours of surgery at Washington Hospital Center Medstar, where he was listed in serious but stable condition. The injuries make it unlikely Davis will play in next year's World Cup.
The tibia and femur in Davies' right leg were broken. He also suffered facial fractures and a fracture in his left elbow in the accident, which took place at about 3:15 a.m. in the suburbs of the U.S. capital.
Davies will be in hospital for at least a week and additional operations will be required to stabilize his broken elbow and possibly the facial fractures.
"Injuries of this nature usually require a recovery period of six to 12 months and extensive rehabilitation," said Dr. Dan Kalbac, a U.S. team doctor who collaborated with the doctors at the hospital. "Due to Charlie's fitness level, his prognosis for recovery and his ability to resume high-level competition is substantially improved."
The accident occurred in the southbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia and claimed the life of Ashley J. Roberta, 22, of Phoenix, Md., according to U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser.
There were three people in the vehicle, and Davies and Roberta were passengers. Schlosser didn't identify the driver, who was also taken to Washington Hospital Center Medstar. The cause of the accident remained under investigation.
Cinched World Cup berth
Davies was airlifted to the hospital after the accident, where a team of doctors first repaired the ruptured bladder and then inserted titanium rods in both broken leg bones. A statement released by USSF said the procedure was performed "with no complications."
The U.S. team is in the Washington area for Wednesday night's World Cup qualifying game against Costa Rica.
The 23-year-old Davies has four goals in 17 international appearances. He started and played 78 minutes in the Americans' 3-2 victory over Honduras on Saturday that clinched a berth in their sixth straight World Cup. He made his first U.S. appearance on June 2, 2007, as a substitute against China.
Born in Manchester, N.H., Davies played for Boston College before turning pro in 2006. He was a member of last year's American Olympic team and currently plays for the French club Sochaux. Davies' brother, sister and father arrived in Washington from California late Tuesday, according to U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Neil Buethe.
The players were subject to a team curfew Monday night, Buethe said, and Davies apparently was in violation. There was no mandatory team function until lunch on Tuesday, so officials were not aware of the accident until 11 a.m., just as Davies' surgery was about to begin. Coach Bob Bradley informed the players of the news as they gathered for lunch.
The players were not made available for comment, but many in the U.S. soccer community expressed sombre thoughts via Twitter.
"Just got some terrible news about my boy. :( :( :( I'm done tweeting for the day, too much stuff runnin through my head," tweeted midfielder Maurice Edu, who has played for the U.S. team but is not on the roster for the game in Washington.
"OMG please pray for Charlie Davies and the people involved in the car accident in dc," was the message from Freddy Adu, also a member of the national team's player pool.
Davies played in 13 games, with nine starts, for the U.S. national team this year, scoring three goals with three assists. His absence leaves Jozy Altidore, Brian Ching and Conor Casey as the top forwards as the Americans begin preparations for the World Cup, which begins June 11 in South Africa. There will also be another roster spot likely up for grabs, with forwards such as Adu and Kenny Cooper possibly working into the mix.
Such mundane thoughts paled to the grief expressed Tuesday over the death of a young woman and the serious injuries suffered by a teammate.
"Obviously, as a team we were saddened to learn this news," Bradley said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and his family, as well as the other person in the car and the families of the others involved .… We are relying on each other in a moment that has for sure hit us all hard."