Player Might Not Regain Voice, Natural Breathing : Medicine: Sanson of The Master’s, who suffered a crushed larynx diving for ball, is surgically examined.

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Phil Sanson, The Master’s College basketball player who suffered a crushed larynx during a game Saturday, might not speak again or be able to breathe without a tube in his throat, his surgeon said from San Francisco on Tuesday.

Sanson, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, was injured against Dominican College in San Rafael, Calif., when he dived into the bleachers after a loose ball.

Dr. Herbert Dedo said after a surgical examination that he could not reconstruct the larynx because of severe swelling and bleeding in the tissues. He said it will take about a month for the swelling to subside.


“There is a chance for him to talk again and breathe without the tracheotomy tube,” Dedo said. “One thing we have to find out is how much damage the cricothyroid joints sustained.”

The cricothyroid joints permit the thyroid cartilage to rotate, making sound possible.

“One thing we cannot fix is the joints, if they are torn,” Dedo said. “They’ll scar down. There has to be enough room when the vocal cords open to breathe and talk.

“One thing in his favor is his youth. The joints don’t stiffen up as quickly.”

When asked about his outlook, Sanson, 21, of Girard, Ill., wrote a message for his nurse to deliver to a reporter:

“I am feeling fine and I am thankful for the great job and care my doctors are giving me. I’m breathing fine, it just takes getting used to. The Lord spared my life and now I’m just hoping for the best and am anxious to talk again. And finally, I want to thank everyone for their concern and calls.”

Sanson is expected to be released today from UC San Francisco Medical Center. After staying in the Bay Area for an examination Thursday, he plans to return to The Master’s in Santa Clarita.