Super Rugby 2020: Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit narrowly escapes leg amputation

Pieter-Steph du Toit in action
Pieter-Steph du Toit in action Photo credit: Getty

Springboks World Cup hero Pieter-Steph du Toit has narrowly avoided having his leg amputated, after suffering a rare injury against the Blues.

The "freak" injury occurred during the Stormers' 33-14 loss to the Auckland franchise on March 1 in Cape Town. 

Team doctor Jason Suter told Sport24 that du Toit was extremely lucky his condition was diagnosed quickly, preventing the loss of a limb.

"He had a medical emergency after the Blues game," Suter said. 

"Within 15 minutes of him coming off the field and assessing him, we realised that he was at risk of this particular rare condition. He was taken straight to Vincent Pallotti [Hospital], where he had a vascular surgeon waiting and he was operated on that night.

"He had a haematoma that developed into an acute compartment syndrome. It's incredibly rare - there have been only 43 [cases] listed worldwide. 

"If you don't pick it up early, they lose blood supply to the leg and lose the leg."

The reigning World Rugby Player of the Year is set for a three-month recovery stint, although is unlikely to miss too much rugby given the current halt to the Super Rugby competition.

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 03: Pieter-Steph Du Toit of South Africa poses after being named the Men's 15s Player of the Year during the World Rugby Awards on November 03, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Stormers coach John Dobson praised Suter's expert work that saved the star flanker's career.

"'Doc' deserves enormous credit for Pieter-Steph. Had a rugby player lost his leg, it would have been devastating for the game. 

"And if it wasn't for the timely intervention then, I think [he could have lost his leg]... almost half of the 43 reported cases had resulted in that," Dobson said.

Du Toit was a key figure in South Africa's stunning World Cup win in Japan last year.