Image: Schwarzenegger
Duncan Mcintosh  /  AP
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., lies in his hospital room in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday recovering from leg surgery that followed a skiing accident in Idaho.
updated 12/28/2006 7:17:53 PM ET 2006-12-29T00:17:53

The Terminator is looking all too human these days.

The shattered leg that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered in a fall on an icy ski slope was the latest in a list of injuries and ailments to befall the actor-bodybuilder-politician.

The seven-time Mr. Olympia whose broad shoulders and tree-trunk legs earned him the moniker "the Austrian Oak" has a medical chart you might find at a senior citizens' home.

Schwarzenegger, who turns 60 in July, has had a hip and a heart valve replaced. He had rotator cuff surgery in 2003. A rapid heartbeat sent him to a hospital last year. One motorcycle crash in 2001 left him with several broken ribs, and another last January resulted in 15 stitches in his lip.

Now he is on crutches while the right thigh bone he broke while skiing with his family over the holidays in Sun Valley, Idaho, heals. Doctors used screws and wires to repair his leg Tuesday, and he is expected to be released from the hospital by week's end.

Despite Schwarzenegger's travails, his doctor said he is in great shape for a man his age, though few details about the governor's condition are ever released. Schwarzenegger's office says such information is private.

The governor "is in excellent physical condition and his health is very good. He has fantastic muscle tone, excellent bone health and is in great cardiovascular shape. The governor's health is in the top 5 percent of people his age," said Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, his orthopedic surgeon.

Schwarzenegger has carefully cultivated an image of vitality and strength, and his best-known Hollywood roles were built around his rippling biceps and deltoids.

In a tailored suit and a pair of his finely tooled cowboy boots, Schwarzenegger still looks younger than his 59 years. His cordovan hair appears impervious to gray, and his skin is remarkably smooth and unblemished for a man his age.

But he is not in the championship form of his youth. Photos surface occasionally showing a mushy midriff and arms that only faintly resemble the 22-inch biceps of his prime.

Once a steroid user
Schwarzenegger has acknowledged using steroids in his bodybuilding days, before they became illegal without a prescription in 1991. But he has never provided details about his usage, and it is unknown whether the drugs — which can cause heart problems — have had anything to do with any of his health problems.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

Charles Yesalis, professor emeritus of health and human development at Penn State University and an expert on performance-enhancing drugs, said for someone who is athletic and not overweight, Schwarzenegger "appears to have a lot of health problems."

But "a lot of very healthy people who exercise a lot and look robust have bad health problems. It's hard to tie it together in any meaningful way," Yesalis said.

In addition to the physical toll exacted by professional bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger suffered his share of bangs and bruises doing movie stunts.

At a 2005 appearance in front of medical workers in Burbank, Schwarzenegger credited nurses with making his hospital stays more tolerable.

"I was in the hospital three times in a row these last 10 years — for open heart surgery, with a hip replacement and with shoulder surgery," the governor said at the time.

"This is what happens when you are the Terminator," he added. "They switch body parts."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments