Weight Lifter with Prolapsed Rectum

Photograph shows a weight lifter who suffered a prolapsed rectum.

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Claim:   Photograph shows a weight lifter who suffered a prolapsed rectum during a powerlifting match.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]

This rather shocking photo was snapped in November 16th by a spectator at
the collegiate power lifting championships at Pennsylvania State. The
unfortunate competitor, who expressed a plea to remain anonymous,
remembered to surgeons that he was “stuck” at the bottom of a personal
best attempt in the squat lift when he “sort of pulled his stomach in and
pushed extra hard, at the same time as trying to complete the lift.” He
remembers a loud popping, splattering noise then a fierce stabbing pain and
then not being able to move from the squat position. He remained in this
position for about half an hour, since trying to stand caused him
overwhelming agonizing pain.

Paramedics arrived and applied anaesthesia on
the spot and carried him to an ambulance. He was rushed to surgery, where
surgeons described the trauma as an “explosive and aggravated prolapse of
the bowel”. Meanwhile it was revealed that the weight was removed from his
shoulders at the time of the incident by two “spotters” on either side of
the lifter. The third spotter who was standing behind the lifter was
unfortunately sprayed with fecal matter at the time of the incident. This
spotter promptly fainted when he realized the extent of the injury to the
lifter, who was a personal friend. This compounded the task of first aid
officers who were at a loss as to how to treat the injury to the lifter in
any case, who remained in the squatting position moaning in pain much to
the consternation of the helpless audience.

The hapless lifter had successful surgery to relieve the prolapse, but
remained immobilized with his feet elevated in stirrups for 2 weeks to
ensure “internal compliance with the surgery and that the organs retracted
successfully”. To add insult to injury, the ex-lifter required rectal
stitching to partially occlude the anal orifice and stitch the rectal
passage (which had significantly expanded and torn during the prolapse) and
also was put on a low fibre low residue diet to combat flatulence to avoid
any possibility of a recurrence. CBS news spoke to his wife and asked if
she thought he would resume his power lifting career. “Not if I have
anything to say about it, would you like to risk something like that again?”

We agreed!!

CBS news

Click photo to enlarge

Origins:   This item is “false” in the sense that the accompanying text does not correspond to the image:

  • The message reproduced above was not written or published by CBS news or any other news agency. (The poor writing, non-news format, and focus on “gross out” details mark it as a fabrication.)
  • The annual USAPL Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Championship contests are held early in the year (February or March), not in November.
  • No such injury as the one described occurred to any weight lifter at the Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Championships in the last several years.
  • The “weight lifter” in the photograph is posed squatting immediately in front of a doorway or wall, which would not be the case if had suffered an injury in the midst of a powerlifting match and then found himself “not able to move from the squat position.” (He’d be in the middle of an arena or gymnasium floor with plenty of room on all sides.)

Although a prolapsed rectum or bowel is a real medical condition, the text cited here is an obvious attempt at a “gross out” piece involving all the familiar aspects of potty humor (e.g., rectums, sprayed fecal matter, farts). How and why the image accompanying the text was produced (and by whom) is still unknown to us.

Last updated:   20 September 2006