With 2013 injury, Broncos S Rahim Moore was in danger of losing leg

Rahim Moore feels healthy and ready to go. (USATSI)
Rahim Moore feels healthy and ready to go. (USATSI)

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When the Broncos were forced to place safety Rahim Moore on injured reserve last November, ending his 2013 season, Denver president John Elway talked about how painful the loss was to the team.

But for Moore, who had been diagnosed with lateral compartment syndrome, the injury could have forced him to lose his leg. Or it could have killed him.

As theMMQB.com recounts, Moore felt intense pain in his leg a few hours after the Broncos had played the Chiefs in Week 11. Already, his leg had felt "off" during pregame warmups, and eventually, he left the game for good in the second quarter.

By Monday morning, he was in surgery to help relieve the LCS -- which occurs when an injury builds swelling, which then causes extreme pressure inside an enclosed space in the body. The strange thing about Moore's case is that he never suffered a bad injury leading up to the LCS.

But during warmups before the Chiefs game, he could feel the pain in his leg, and after coming out for good, an x-ray revealed no broken bones. Moore wondered what else could be causing the pain. Later that night, as he was preparing for bed, the pain returned.

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“All of a sudden, my leg just got weak,” Moore says. “I felt like I had about 30 Band-Aids on my knee, and there was no feeling down my leg. I started to tear up, and I was like, What’s going on?”

At Sky Ridge Medical Center, doctors diagnosed him with acute compartment syndrome, which can also arise from vigorous exercise and explains why the pain returned with such fervor several hours after he’d last been active (the symptoms would have dissipated if it were chronic compartment syndrome).

Cases like Moore’s -- acute compartment syndrome with no broken bone -- are rare, and timing is always of the essence. Almost immediately, doctors performed a needle test to gauge the pressure, which left no doubt that compartment syndrome was besieging his leg. Doctors told Moore that had he waited to come in until noon on Monday, they would have had to amputate. Any longer than that, he could have died.

Moore simply told them, “You are not cutting my leg off. That’s not happening.”

Moore ended up needing two procedures in order to clean out the dead tissue and relieve the pressure from his leg. The Broncos had placed him on the IR list that could have allowed him to return by the end of the season, but it took him until January to start running.

But now, Moore seems healthy, and though there's a chance the LCS could return, he's ready to be back on to the field. And thankful to have the chance to do so.

“I didn’t know if I would ever walk again," Moore said. “I didn’t know if I would ever be the Rahim that I know I can be."

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