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Brooke Shields says she feared she 'was paralyzed' after frightening fall

The actress looks back on the accident and recalls her immediate fear after suffering a badly broken leg.
/ Source: TODAY

Brooke Shields is recovering from an injury so serious, she’s had to learn to walk again in the wake of it.

But in a new interview, the actor reveals that despite the pain, surgeries, infection and grueling physical therapy that she endured, she initially feared things could have been much worse.

Rather than simply breaking the femur in her right leg, Shields worried she might have been left paralyzed.

"It felt like it was all in slow motion,” the 55-year-old told People magazine of the fall that caused the injury. “And then I just started screaming. ... Sounds came out that I've never heard before.”

As she explained during a video visit to TODAY last month, it all happened while she was using a balance board as part of her daily workout routine.

“I stupidly switched my focus, and I flew up in the air and just hit perfectly and snapped my femur,” she said at the time.

In her chat with People, she said that once EMTs arrived on the scene and put her on a stretcher, “survival kicked in.”

“So, I kept saying, 'I can feel my toes' because I was so afraid I was paralyzed,” she recalled.

Once she was able to put her worst fear to rest, she underwent surgery so that two metal rods — "one from the top of my hip down, and another across into the hip socket” — could be inserted in her leg.

But she was far from on the mend at that point, as her femur popped out of the configuration and required another surgery, an additional five rods and a metal plate to secure it all.

And even then, she wasn’t out of the woods. She developed a staph infection after returning home, necessitating yet another surgery.

"At first they feared it might be MRSA (a type of bacteria resistant to antibiotics)," she explained. "Thank God it wasn't. If it had been, my doctor said it would have been a race against time. That's how you can become septic. It seemed unthinkable."

With all of that behind her, and a long recovery ahead, she told the publication that she now knows one thing for sure about herself: “If anything, I'm a fighter."

And she won’t hide the fight she’s still facing.

“This is my journey, and if it took me breaking the largest bone in my body, then recovery is something I want to share,” she added. “We have to believe in ourselves and encourage one another. There's no other way to get through life, period."