Ed Podolak: 100 Yards at a Time

By John Campbell, Sports Director

University of Iowa broadcaster Ed Podolak walks during a physical therapy session at the University of Iowa Sports Medicine Institute for Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2701 Prairie Meadows Drive, Iowa City, on the morning of May 11, 2011. Podolak is recovering from injuries sustained as a pedestrian in a February pedestrian-vehicle accident. (Matt Nelson/SourceMedia Group News)


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - 100 yards. 100 yards, 25 yards at a time. 100 yards, 25 yards at a time with a walker. That’s a good day for Ed Podolak, the Iowa football broadcaster who once accounted for 350 yards in a game with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Podolak’s life was turned upside down on a dark, rainy, February night in Scottsdale, AZ. He was walking across a six lane street when he was hit by a pizza delivery car. Ed says he was J-walking and did not see the car that was going 40 miles per hour. He does not blame the driver of the car for the accident. “I paid a fine for J-walking and took off with the rest of my life.”

Podolak spent the next 5 weeks under an assumed name in a Scottsdale hospital where doctors tried to put him back together. Both of his lower legs had been shattered and ripped open. There were also rib injuries and a head injury. After numerous surgeries, skin grafts and muscle grafts, Podolak feels lucky to be alive. For the past 5 weeks he has been rehabbing under the watchful eye of Paul Pursley at UI Sports Medicine in Iowa City. “I am doing better every day. It is tough. It is a long road. The big “P”, patience is what I am fighting right now.”

Podolak is also grateful to Iowa football team doctor Ned Amendola. Dr. Amendola had Ed admitted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after infections threatened his recovery. They decided to use the hyperbaric chamber to aid the healing process. “They take you down to 40 feet below sea level so you have pressure on you and oxygen is pumped into your system. I can really see improvement on the wounds in my legs.” Eddie hopes to be rid of the wheelchair in two weeks. Being able to drive again, he says, also will give him some freedom he misses.

“if I want an ice cream cone at 8 o’clock I can get out of my hotel and go get it.”

Podolak said his mental rehabilitation has been aided by time spent with Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz, the other assistants and players at the football complex. He said he has every intention of rejoining Gary Dolphin in the broadcast booth September 3 for the Hawkeye football opener against Tennessee Tech. Until then, it is 100 yards at time.

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