President Barack Obama got 12 stitches in his lip after being injured during a basketball game, spokesman Robert Gibbs said. He was hit in the mouth with an elbow during an early morning pick-up game in Washington.
“After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player’s elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the president received 12 stitches today administered by the White House medical unit,” Gibbs said in a statement. The president played basketball for about 90 minutes at a gym at Fort McNair in Washington.
Mr Obama was playing hoops with family and friends at the Fort McNair army base in Washington when the accident happened.
It was a five-on-five game and included the president’s personal assistant Reggie Love, who played basketball at university. The identity of the player with the errant elbow was not disclosed.
Mr Obama stemmed the flow of blood with what looked like a wad of gauze.
He emerged from the gymnasium after about 90 minutes dabbing at his mouth and was rushed back to the doctor’s office on the ground floor of the White House to get stitches under local anaesthetic.
The president’s press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed Mr Obama was injured while playing basketball.
He said the medical unit that treated the president used a smaller filament than is usual which increases the number of stitches but makes a tighter stitch and results in a smaller scar.
Mr Obama was expected to play a round of golf after the traditional turkey dinner on Thursday, which was Thanksgiving Day in the US and a national holiday.
But the bad weather in Washington meant that he changed his mind and played hoops inside instead.
The president is a keen sports fan and an ardent amateur basketball player. He even played a game with aides and friends on Election Day in 2008 as he waited to hear whether he had won the presidency.
In August, he played a game with a dream team of current and former basketball stars, including LeBron James, in the same military gym in Washington where he suffered yesterday’s injury.
It was just the latest blow for the president after a grim month when his Democratic Party took a battering in the mid-term elections and Mr Obama’s personal approval rating has plunged to a record low. [via USA Today and NY Times]