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Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Majerus needs 27 stitches following accident



LOS ANGELES – Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus suffered a separated shoulder and a leg wound that required 27 stitches during a rental-car van accident at L.A. International Airport on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Majerus has returned home from his recruiting trip with orders to remain off his feet while he heals.

Rick Majerus
Life is never dull for Utah coach Rick Majerus.

"It's embarrassing," Majerus said. "I'd like to say I rented a convertible, it was sunset and I was driving down Highway 1 with my arm around a babe when I strayed into the valley of death. But to tell the truth, I was in a damn rental car van that was going too fast, and I was standing up because there were no more seats. The van hit something coming out of LAX and threw me into the door-well. I'm lucky the door didn't pop open or I would have been dead."

When Majerus reached the rental car agency, he went inside and told the woman on duty he was seriously hurt.

"I got worried when the blood just started rushing out," he said. "The lady behind the desk put me in a car and took me to this clinic on Century Boulevard that looked like it was a guarded abortion house with an office on the second floor. It was really something.

"I tried applying my own tourniquet, but I couldn't stop the bleeding. When the guy inside saw my leg he said the injury was too severe for him to treat me. The blood was just gushing from my leg – I begged him to stop it, but he wanted insurance forms to do that."

The woman, who didn't speak much English, put Majerus back into the car and set out looking for the Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital.

"She's lost, she doesn't want to turn down a one-way street, I'm bleeding to death and I'm yelling -- just go," Majerus said. "She was a nice young girl, but I'm in pain and she's worried about blood on the car carpet."

In the emergency room, Majerus was one of nine patients waiting for the one doctor on duty. A young medical technician, however, offered help.

"She tells me it is her second day on the job and I'm thinking, great, I am going to die," Majerus said. "She weighs about 110 pounds, and she's putting compression on my leg and she's worried she's hurting me. The doctor was great, although he called me, 'Ricky,' – my real name. I got 27 stitches – inside and outside on my calf. He says it must be my lucky day because I hadn't cut a tendon or an artery. Some lucky day.

"All my friends think I'm a bad driver, and when they hear about this accident, they're gonna think I got hurt because I was driving."

Majerus left the hospital at 3:30 a.m. Friday, about four hours after the accident occurred.

"A friend picked me up, takes me to this hotel at 3:30 in the morning, and I'm asking for a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call and a king-size bed, and the clerk is looking at us like we're two gay guys looking for a quickie," Majerus said.

An hour later he called a cab to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight home.

"I'm still dressed in the shorts and T-shirt I arrived in, I haven't showered, I have blood on me and the guy won't let me get into his cab," Majerus said.

A short time after boarding a flight to Salt Lake City, a flight attendant asked him if he knew he was bleeding.

"It's dripping down into my shoe, and I can see the stewardess is looking at me like I had just come from a gang fight or something. I pleaded – just let me get home to Salt Lake."

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AUDIO VIDEO
 Rick Majerus recaps the incident in Los Angeles as only he can.
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 Rick Majerus can't wait to get back to work.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6