Earl Fee’s great scare — items dropped into his eye during cataract surgery

M85 legend Earl Fee overcomes all kind of hurdles, including a botched surgery.M85 legend Earl Fee overcomes all kind of hurdles, including a botched surgery.

Earl in one of his 800-meter world records.

Earl in one of his 800-meter world records.

Our Ontario friend Earl Fee — the scholar and poet with countless world titles and dozens of world records — will compete at Malaga worlds this fall at 89. He’ll be the favorite to win most events he enters, usually including hurdles, sprints and perhaps the 800. But even Earl has challenges (besides age). He described his latest in a scary Facebook post eight days ago. He told of a cataract operation gone horribly wrong — “two dropped items at bottom inside [of] my eye — a very rare problem.” He says: an “urgent second operation two days later to remedy the problem was essential. I spare you the gory details. I look on the bright side; I had the top eye surgeon at the large Saint Michael’s hospital in Toronto, on short notice. And the operation was done quickly.” He doesn’t say what the items were, but thankfully he’s on the mend. Monday he told me: “Recovery is slow but seeing better in the operated eye.” Earl is in shape, citing an indoor 400 in March that age-graded at 107.5 percent for age 88. He says: “I can get [my fitness] back in a couple of months.” Also coming in a few months: “My memoirs, ‘Earl Fee Is Running’ will be out in Canada.” Can’t wait.

About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at TrackCEO@aol.com or kens@timesofandiego.com. Story tips always welcome!

2 Comments on "Earl Fee’s great scare — items dropped into his eye during cataract surgery"

  1. Very sorry to hear about your misfortune, Great Earl. You’re a wonderful guy, you’re courageous, and you are arguably the greatest middle-distance runner in the history of masters T&F.

    Good luck with your recovery, Great Earl.

  2. Joseph A Burleson | May 15, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Reply

    Good news for one of the most magnificent athletes of all time in Masters T&F; and not just in his competitions per se, but as a scientist/sage of workouts and training generally. Decades ago, after bugging him to write a book compiling/expanding on his Masters T&F News articles on training and racing, he saw me at Boston for the National Indoors and handed me a signed, first copy of his initial edition. I have read every word multiple times. What a renaissance man.

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