Deion Sanders is revealing for the first time he had two toes amputated on his left foot after he was diagnosed with three life-threatening blood clots.
The Jackson State University head football coach and pro football Hall of Famer made the stunning revelation in a preview of the latest episode of his docuseries, Coach Prime for Barstool Sports. The legendary NFL cornerback underwent surgery on his foot last fall -- during the team's historic 11-2 run and SWAC championship -- to fix a dislocated toe and an inflamed nerve. He eventually returned to the sidelines with the help of crutches and a push scooter. But the severity of the complications that followed -- including his toes darkening under the bandages when he was supposed to be healing -- were not fully known until now.
According to USA Today, Sanders' blood clots started at his calf and ran the entire length of his leg. The outlet reports Sanders developed compartment syndrome, which involves muscle pressure reaching levels that can limit the flow of blood and oxygen. Following the diagnosis, the newspaper reported that Sanders called his mother to inform her about the news, and it was then when his mother informed him that his family, including herself, had previously been diagnosed 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," said Sanders, who underwent a total of eight surgeries.
The 54-year-old would ultimately require a month-long stay in a Mississippi hospital, resulting in Sanders also losing 35 pounds.
In a preview of the clip, Sanders is lying on a hospital bed as doctors unwrap the bandages around his foot. They tell him it looks good, but after Sanders takes a peek, he groans, "Oh my god. That’s the first time I ever looked at it."
"The hardest thing of it all was to look down there and see that, and understand that once upon a time, you were this type of athlete," Sanders later says in the documentary. "And you don’t even know if you’re gonna walk because all you feel is pain, and you just want to get out of this hospital. You just want to get out.”
Episode 5 of Coach Prime drops Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT on Barstool Sports' YouTube channel.