ABCNews.com—May 12, 2009
Well-toned abdominal muscles can be good for more than just looks, Peggy Williams, 47, discovered during a paragliding trip to Andalusia, Spain last month.
Before she could take off properly, a gust of wind lifted Williams' paraglider off the ground, dragging her backwards. She flipped over and was dragged on her stomach, not on the graveled take off area but on the rocks beyond.
"I got a smack in my abdomen, right across it with a big rock," Williams said. "It didn't wind me but it took the air out of my lungs."
Williams suffered a torn liver and pancreas, a few scratches on her arms and legs and numerous bruises. She spent two days in intensive care, another six days of bed rest before she could sit up in a chair, but she did not require surgery and was not hemorrhaging internally.
"The doctors said someone with my injuries would be sent straight into surgery," Williams said. "But they told me 'you're fit. Your muscles helped you and saved you from anything worse.'"
"Whenever you hit a part of the body, the organs underneath are protected to some degree by the musculoskeletal system [muscles and bones]," said Dr. Lisa Callahan, medical director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. "The stronger those things are, the more they're going to protect you."
This story originally appeared at abcnews.com.