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Deion Sanders health update: Colorado coach opens up about 12 surgeries, toe amputation

Deion Sanders health update: Colorado coach opens up about 12 surgeries, toe amputation

Deion Sanders has been the talk of the college football world for much of the offseason, which should come as no surprise. “Coach Prime” has approached his new job at Colorado with a style unique to himself, and he’s turned a struggling Buffaloes program into a destination before even coaching a game.

Off the field, not everything has come easy for the Hall of Famer. Sanders has dealt with serious health complications, including several surgeries and the amputation of two toes. He was hospitalized during his time coaching at Jackson State, and health issues landed him back receiving medical care this offseason. 

Sanders recently opened up about his struggles and gave an update on his status before the Buffaloes’ season opener against future Big 12 rival TCU.

BENDER: What to expect from Deion Sanders’ Buffaloes in year one

Here’s what you need to know about Sanders’ health as his first season at Colorado begins.

Deion Sanders health update

While he’s not 100 percent, Sanders recently told USA Today he’s experiencing far less pain in his legs and feet than he was at the start of the year.

Sanders underwent two surgeries during the offseason to remove blood clots and improve circulation in his legs. While previous surgeries dealt with circulation near his ankles and feet, these procedures were more invasive: they required surgeons to go through his groin to get into his legs.

Despite his health complications, Sanders told USA Today that his most recent surgeries have been a success.

“I was hurting so bad because I wasn’t getting any blood flow down there over the last year,” he said, adding that the problems affected his walking. Now the blood flow is great.”

Sanders has received treatment from Colorado assistant athletic director, Lauren Askevold, who said the 56-year-old’s improvement in walking has been “insane.” “He can stand upright. He’s not bent over,” Askevold told USA Today.

“I was walking on my heel just to alleviate the pain. But now, I’m good,” Sanders said of the difference between the spring and today.

Still, Sanders’ battle continues. He told his players he’s “chasing normalcy” with his foot. What is normalcy? Being able to walk without pain and not requiring high amounts of pain medications just to be able do it.

Sanders said he’s still building up to the point that he can stand for an entire game, but he does plan to do all that it takes to run out of the tunnel with his team when the season begins.

MORE: Deion Sanders sounds off on college football realignment

What happened to Deion Sanders?

Sanders has dealt with blood clots and circulation issues since his time at Jackson State.

His most painful moments, according to USA Today, came in 2021, when the Hall of Famer underwent eight surgeries in the span of a month and was forced to step away from coaching. Sanders had two toes amputated during that time due to circulation issues.

While putting his body in the line in two different sports certainly wasn’t easy, Sanders attributes his blood clotting to a hereditary issue. He says his mother and two of his uncles dealt with clots.

Sanders is without two of his toes, but by all indications, he has a chance to keep regaining function in his legs and feet as he takes steps toward normalcy.

While all of the attention on Sanders has been football-focused, the return of football might actually serve as a convenient break for “Coach Prime” after an offseason that has been as challenging off the field as any for the former two-sport star.