What happened to Ronnie Coleman? Injuries and surgeries explained

Bruno Cooke April 12, 2021
What happened to Ronnie Coleman? Injuries and surgeries explained
Photo by Marc Pfitzenreuter/Getty Images

Ronnie Coleman celebrated his five year anniversary with his wife, personal trainer Susan Williamson, yesterday. A lot has changed in five years. What happened to Ronnie Coleman in those five years? How many times has he had surgery?

What happened to Ronnie Coleman?

Eight-time Mr Olympia and iconic bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman has been in and out of hospital several times in recent years.

In February 2018, Coleman went into hospital to “have his intestines pulled out” and screws put “in and out of his back”, then his intestines “put back in”.

RCSS Supplements posted a picture to instagram of Coleman, post-surgery. They wrote that “he wanted to crack a smirk and give a thumbs up”.

More surgeries to come

In September 2019, Coleman underwent his 10th bout of surgery, to fix four broken screws (as in, those ones from 2018).

“Say y’all please say a prayer for ya boy,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

Many of Coleman’s injuries are the result of a career in competitive bodybuilding. He revealed at the time that it was his third turn under the knife in that year alone.

How much did those three surgeries cost? $2 million.

Coleman back in hospital in 2020

A regular doctor’s visit to get x-rays on his hips in January 2020 turned into an appointment for “minor surgery”.

In a video released via Fitness Volt Network’s Instagram page, Coleman said, “Here we go again, I’m on my way in now. You guys say a prayer for the old man.”

Various outlets have at times reported that Coleman is “crippled” and potentially “paralysed”. 

But he always seemed to get back on the horse, including going to the gym “all by myself” on Christmas Day in order to work out.

Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

2020: ‘I might never walk again’

Then, in June 2020, Ronnie Coleman revealed that he may never be able to walk again. 

He blamed his fate, at least in part, on the surgeon who carried out his latest procedure.

In a video interview with Ron Harris of Muscular Development, Ronnie said the cost of his last three surgeries was too great.

But he also contended that, “if that surgeon had to perform these surgeries right then I would have been walking a long long time ago!”

Is Ronnie Coleman bodybuilding in 2021?

In one of Coleman’s latest Instagram uploads, he can be seen building up his leg muscles.

It appears that he is staying true to form.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.