Over the years, professional athletes have become comfortable opening up about their personal lives to fans.
From decorated gymnast Simone Biles discussing her mental health struggles in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics to figure skating champion Gracie Gold announcing in 2017 she would seek professional help, athletes prove that anything can affect anyone. Now, this leads us to our next famous subject — Deion Sanders.
The professional football Hall of Famer and current head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder is incredibly open about his medical issues and often pulls back the curtain on his tragic foot injury.
Wait, what happened to the NFL legend's foot? Keep reading for all the known details and an update on his health.
What happened to Deion Sanders's foot?
In March 2022, during an episode of the SMAC Entertainment and Barstool Sports series Coach Prime, Deion opened up about the procedures he had on his injured foot in 2021. The former athlete revealed that he was diagnosed with three life-threatening blood clots, which led to his having two toes amputated on his left foot.
The episode detailed the operation and his three-week stay in a Mississippi hospital.
According to USA Today, the blood clots "started at his calf and ran the entire length of his leg and he developed compartment syndrome, which involves muscle pressure reaching levels that can limit the flow of blood and oxygen." After doctors told him about the amputation, Deion called his mother. She informed him that family members, including herself, had been diagnosed with or died from blood clots.
"They were first talking about the amputation of toes, then the amputation of my leg from knee down, and then they were trying to ensure that I had life," Deion said on Coach Prime. After numerous surgeries, he had his big toe and second toe on his left foot amputated. Deion also lost 35 pounds during his hospital stay, according to USA Today.
"The hardest thing of it all was to look down there and see that and understand once upon a time you were this type of athlete and [now] you don't even know if you're gonna walk because all you feel is pain and you just want to get out of the hospital," he explained. Deion added that it was tough to ask for help with ordinary tasks but assured fans that he would recover.
"It's been a long journey. I am on the road back," he said. "But I am here, and I am thankful."
Deion revealed his missing toes during an interview with Shannon Sharpe.
Deion isn't shy about his health issues, so much so that he showed off his missing toes during a December 2022 interview with Shannon Sharpe. He told the former NFL tight end that it's been a rough year, noting that turf toe is the reason for his amputation.
"They told me my foot has been dislocated for 18 years," he told Shannon, adding that as a college head coach, "I can make it through three quarters of a game, and after that, I'm limping like crazy. It's my new normal."
Doctors warned Deion Sanders that he could eventually lose his foot.
Deion has remained quite active since having two toes amputated, though his struggles with his left foot are far from over. On June 14, 2023, Deion posted an eye-opening clip from The Pregame show on Instagram which revealed that he could potentially lose his foot. The former pro football player admitted that he no longer has feeling in the bottom of his foot.
While he appears open to treatment, vascular surgeon Dr. Donald Jacobs met Deion's concerns with a harsh reality — he may need to have his foot amputated. Although Deion hasn't announced what he plans to do, he left fans with this: "You can trust and believe that we are all going through something — just keep the faith and know that if He brought you to it, He will bring you through it ... I'm CoachPrime and I'm built for this."