All scars have a story, and Kaley Cuoco’s lower left leg has a pretty significant one, she recently revealed on the SmartLess podcast, co-hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. Thirteen years after an equestrian accident nearly took the actor’s leg, she embraces what the horrific injury left behind.
“I have some good scars,” he said, for People. “It makes you feel like a badass.”
The entire accident is recounted by Cuoco and Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre in the oral history book The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive Inside Story Of The Epic Hit Series. As an experienced rider and jumper, Cuoco often competed. In 2010, while horseback riding on a Los Angeles ranch, her horse freaked out, knocked her over and stepped on her left leg, leaving her with a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula, a “horrible, horrible, horrible break” in which her bones they penetrated through the skin of her lower leg, Cuoco said on the podcast.
“I remember it clear as day, because it takes a second when something is that bad,” Cuoco told Bateman, Arnett and Hayes. “I was like, ‘Did I just fall on a bunch of leaves?’ Because I heard all the creaks. It took me like 5 or 10 seconds to realize that it wasn’t just 400 sheets; They were my bones.”
A compound fracture is characterized by an open wound in the skin near a broken bone, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). The severity of this type of injury can vary significantly, but in “high energy” accidents, when there is clear damage to the skin or bone protrudes, the soft tissues around the area, such as muscles and tendons, are at risk. immediate. of contamination (think: grass, mud, clothing) and thus a serious infection.
Fortunately, Lorre was present. People reported, and knew a physician affiliated with the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic for Sports Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, whom he immediately contacted. Within two hours of his fall, Cuoco was “in surgery with the best surgeons available to stop an infection because his leg was wide open,” Lorre recalled.
However, before going into surgery, Cuoco was forced to face the severity of the injury head-on. “They made me sign something that said, ‘We don’t know until we get there and see this leg, and it could turn out you don’t have it anymore,’” he said. To his relief, he woke up from the operation and looked down to find his leg still attached.
Doctors weren’t sure when he would walk again, and according to the AAOS, a fractured tibia can take up to six months to heal, sometimes longer for open fractures. Amazingly, within a week, Cuoco was walking in one boot. “I’m back at work in two weeks,” he said on the podcast. “It was, like, miraculous.” To this day, he still wears the pins and metal rods that were inserted into his leg during surgery.
“Everything ended well,” he said in the oral history book. “And of course…everyone was freaking out, which I understand. He scared people.”