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Brooke Shields feels ‘so lucky to be alive’ after weeks-long hospitalization for breaking her femur

Brooke Shields says she feels ‘so lucky to be alive’ after an ‘excruciating’ injury in January that hospitalized her for weeks and left her with seven metal rods and a metal plate in her leg.

The actress, 55, was on day 13 of a 14-day workout plan when she fell off a balance board and flew into the air, landing on her upper leg and hip and breaking her femur, the largest bone in the body. 

She went on to have multiple surgeries and even suffered a staph infection, and revealed that her kids were asking ‘if I thought I was gonna die’ — but though she said she had not ‘ever been more afraid,’ she now considers the ordeal to be a blessing.

‘I think it’s almost been the biggest blessing to date because I realize what a fighter I am,’ she said on Good Morning America today.

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Feeling positive: Brooke Shields says she feels ‘so lucky to be alive’ after an ‘excruciating’ injury in January that hospitalized her for weeks

Ouch! The actress, 55, was on day 13 of a 14-day workout plan when she fell off a balance board and flew into the air, landing on her upper leg and hip and breaking her femur

Ouch! The actress, 55, was on day 13 of a 14-day workout plan when she fell off a balance board and flew into the air, landing on her upper leg and hip and breaking her femur

'I flew up in the air with such force, and I landed so heavy and so hard, and with such musculature and such velocity and such heights on my hip,' she said

'And it just snapped it,' she said

‘I flew up in the air with such force, and I landed so heavy and so hard, and with such musculature and such velocity and such heights on my hip,’ she said. ‘And it just snapped it’

'I don't remember how I was, I just started screaming. I was just screaming, And I've never screamed like that. Not even in childbirth,' she admitted

‘I don’t remember how I was, I just started screaming. I was just screaming, And I’ve never screamed like that. Not even in childbirth,’ she admitted

Tough: The road to recovery has been hard, but she said 'it's almost been the biggest blessing to date because I realize what a fighter I am'

Tough: The road to recovery has been hard, but she said ‘it’s almost been the biggest blessing to date because I realize what a fighter I am’

Brooke was close to completing a 14 Day Transformation program with her trainer, Ngo Okafor, and was feeling fit and healthy on the day of her injury.

‘I was energized, I wasn’t exhausted. I’d been eating even healthier, not drinking. I was in the zone,’ she said.

But after she finished her workout with Okafor, she went off on her own to use a balance board — and let herself get distracted.

‘I went on this balance board,’ she recalled, ‘and a young man had said, “Oh that looks really hard.” And I said, “It’s only really as hard as you commit to learning it or doing it.” 

‘And I turned back — and you just never take your focus off — and I flew up in the air with such force, and I landed so heavy and so hard, and with such musculature and such velocity and such heights on my hip. On the top part of my femur. And it just snapped it,’ she said.

‘I felt how solid the impact was, I don’t remember hearing anything [snap]. The only thing that I kept saying is that I can feel my toes. Because I just knew that I couldn’t move, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t paralyzed. 

‘And I kind of came to inches away from hitting my head on a weight bench,’ she added.

'The only thing that I kept saying is that I can feel my toes. Because I just knew that I couldn't move, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't paralyzed,' she said

‘The only thing that I kept saying is that I can feel my toes. Because I just knew that I couldn’t move, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t paralyzed,’ she said

Healing: She also shared some of the training she is doing to build back up her strength

Healing: She also shared some of the training she is doing to build back up her strength

Fitness fan: Brooke was close to completing a 14 Day Transformation program with her trainer, Ngo Okafor, and was feeling fit and healthy on the day of her injury

Fitness fan: Brooke was close to completing a 14 Day Transformation program with her trainer, Ngo Okafor, and was feeling fit and healthy on the day of her injury

'I'm having to work very hard,' she said on GMA. 'I'm doing it every day. I usually take off on the weekends, but I'm also getting osteopath work and massage and infrared sauna'

‘I’m having to work very hard,’ she said on GMA. ‘I’m doing it every day. I usually take off on the weekends, but I’m also getting osteopath work and massage and infrared sauna’ 

‘There’s so many things that could’ve happened, I just feel so lucky. I feel so lucky to be alive.’

But while she has that perspective now, at the time she was in excruciating pain.

‘I don’t remember how I was, I just started screaming. I was just screaming, And I’ve never screamed like that. Not even in childbirth,’ she admitted.

Brooke was rushed to the hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery to have two metal rods put in her hip. But the next day, she woke up in more pain, and had to go back into surgery again — where doctors added five more rods and a metal plate. 

Her ordeal still wasn’t over. Brooke soon developed an infection at the site of the IV in her arm, and was stuck in the hospital for two weeks with no visitors due to COVID-19. 

‘Once fear sort of crept in, that’s when I started to falter,’ she said. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been more afraid because I was helpless. 

‘I had to stay calm for [my family], because I was never coming home. And then the one time I did come home, I got rushed back into the hospital for them to do surgery on the infection,’ she continued. 

Worse and worse: Brooke soon developed an infection at the site of the IV in her arm, and was stuck in the hospital for two weeks with no visitors due to COVID-19

Worse and worse: Brooke soon developed an infection at the site of the IV in her arm, and was stuck in the hospital for two weeks with no visitors due to COVID-19 

'Once fear sort of crept in, that's when I started to falter,' she said. 'I don't think I've ever been more afraid because I was helpless'

‘Once fear sort of crept in, that’s when I started to falter,’ she said. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been more afraid because I was helpless’ 

‘My kids actually asked me if I thought I was gonna die,’ she said.

But Brooke is now on the mend, and she is working hard to heal her body. In February, she shared a video of herself walking slowly in a hospital with crutches. The next month, she shared another clip of herself walking up a small staircase with the help of her therapist with the caption: ‘One step at a time… Beginning is Now!’

‘I’m having to work very hard,’ she said on GMA. ‘I’m doing it every day. I usually take off on the weekends, but I’m also getting osteopath work and massage and infrared sauna.’

She is also trying to keep a positive attitude — and pass that on to her daughters, Rowan, 18, and Grier, 15.

‘If I can turn it into anything positive or I can teach my girls, yeah, stuff’s gonna happen in your life. And how you respond is gonna define you,’ she said. 

‘And adversity will reveal you. It won’t make you as much as it will reveal you. ‘Cause you see who you are, you see what you’re made up of.’

She said she wants women ‘to know that they deserve to feel good about themselves and be healthier and happier and bigger. Live a bigger life.’

Moving forward: Brooke is now on the mend, and she is working hard to heal her body. In February, she shared a video of herself walking slowly in a hospital with crutches

 Moving forward: Brooke is now on the mend, and she is working hard to heal her body. In February, she shared a video of herself walking slowly in a hospital with crutches

Up she goes: In March, she shared another clip of herself walking up a small staircase with the help of her therapist with the caption: 'One step at a time... Beginning is Now'

Up she goes: In March, she shared another clip of herself walking up a small staircase with the help of her therapist with the caption: ‘One step at a time… Beginning is Now’

Brooke previously told People that her accident ‘felt like it was all in slow motion. And then I just started screaming. Sounds came out that I’ve never heard before.’ 

When EMTs rushed to the scene, star said, her ‘survival kicked in.’ 

After the two surgeries to put rods in, the staph infection became the bigger cause for concern.   

‘At first they feared it might be MRSA [a type of bacteria resistant to antibiotics],’ she remembered.

‘Thank God it wasn’t. If it had been, my doctor said it would have been a race against time. That’s how you can become septic. It seemed unthinkable.’

But Brooke continued to count her blessings

‘I never considered myself Zen, but I realized with a certain calm that the rest is up to me now,’ she said. 

‘I’ll never forget how hard the doctors and nurses worked and hearing their stories about COVID,’ she says. ‘I have asthma but I kept thinking, “I feel blessed I can breathe.”‘

Upbeat attitude: She is also trying to keep a positive attitude — and pass that on to her daughters, Rowan, 18, and Grier, 15

Upbeat attitude: She is also trying to keep a positive attitude — and pass that on to her daughters, Rowan, 18, and Grier, 15 

'If I can turn it into anything positive or I can teach my girls, yeah, stuff's gonna happen in your life. And how you respond is gonna define you,' she said

‘If I can turn it into anything positive or I can teach my girls, yeah, stuff’s gonna happen in your life. And how you respond is gonna define you,’ she said 

Active: She said she wants women 'to know that they deserve to feel good about themselves and be healthier and happier and bigger. Live a bigger life'

Active: She said she wants women ‘to know that they deserve to feel good about themselves and be healthier and happier and bigger. Live a bigger life’

Returning home for a second time, Brooke said she was told: ‘Your road is just about to begin.’

At first she thought she could power through healing, asking to do twice-a-day workouts instead of the recommended once-a-day physical therapy. 

It made her realize that ‘for the first time in my entire life, I thought, “I can’t power through this.”‘ 

‘I can’t even stand on my leg or go up a step. I need to relearn how to even walk. The feeling of helplessness is shocking.’ 

But, she added, ‘If anything, I’m a fighter.’ 

As she continues to heal, Brooke is focusing on her inner strength while celebrating every small success.  

‘I’m the only one that’s going to be able to get through this,’ she says.

‘My career has actually been like that as well. One door gets slammed in my face and I search for another. It’s not unlike how I felt when I wrote about postpartum depression in 2005. 

‘This is my journey, and if it took me breaking the largest bone in my body, then recovery is something I want to share. We have to believe in ourselves and encourage one another. There’s no other way to get through life, period.’ 


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