University president suffers wrist injury in bike accident

Bruininks expects the injury to possibly take up to six months to heal completely.

Matt Graham

Upcoming work days are going to be a little bit different for University President Bob Bruininks.

The top University official is in a sling after suffering significant ligament damage to his left wrist after a bicycle accident on the Fourth of July.

Doctors originally diagnosed Bruininks with a hairline fracture, which would have required minor outpatient surgery, but pain led doctors to believe there could be more damage.

“They told me the pain I was describing sounded like ligament damage,” Bruininks said.

Two days later, Bruininks underwent a four-hour surgery to repair the injury and spent the night at the University of Minnesota Hospital.

Doctors found severed ligaments in his arm during the operation.

Ligaments are made of tough, fibrous tissue that connect bones or cartilage at a joint and are necessary for proper joint functioning.

Bruininks said the injury, which will not be healed for another six months, has put a damper on his summer.

“I was hoping to go horseback riding this weekend, but now that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Bruininks injured his arm while biking with his wife, Susan Hagstrum, in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul.

His bike chain slipped, causing him to lose his balance. He was unable to free himself because he was wearing special shoes that attached to the bike’s pedals, forcing him to land awkwardly on his left arm.

“It was just a freak thing,” Bruininks said.

Dan Wolter, director of University Relations, said Bruininks would never have regained full use of his wrist without the surgery, making the procedure necessary for the president to continue his lifestyle.

“He is a pretty active guy,” Wolter said.

Bruininks is right-handed and already had a vacation scheduled for this week, so Wolter said the injury should not affect Bruinink’s job duties in any way.

Bruinink’s surgeon could not comment on the injury because of government laws protecting confidentiality between doctors and patients.