Five-time Paralympic medalist Mallory Weggemann is recovering from a serious injury in an altercation outside an Atlanta nightclub.
Multiple witnesses have confirmed Weggemann was punched and kicked while she was on the ground on Sunday night in a parking lot after attending a party at Sedona, an Atlanta nightclub.
“When I woke up the next morning my foot was totally black. It just looked like it was a really badly burned carpet,” Weggemann told reporters on Tuesday after an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon.
“I was very surprised to find out that what happened to me wasn’t a one-time thing but my swimmers told me it’s not uncommon. They have actually just told me that as a team in the spring we’ll have a few of us who are going to have the same experience.”
Footage of the altercation shows Weggemann being dragged from a parking lot as bystanders watch, but could not assist as she tried to fight back and get up.
“I was one of those people that was very close to the young man that did this to me, I have known him for quite a while,” Weggemann said.
“I was the first person he took out and I tried to protect myself at the same time. I was really looking at him and clearly he didn’t like my face. He didn’t like the way I was interacting with people.”
Six people, including Weggemann, were arrested in connection with the incident but prosecutors decided not to charge Weggemann after reviewing the case, instead deciding to upgrade charges against two other victims.
Witness accounts indicate that multiple people had been drinking, and that one of the women involved in the altercation with Weggemann was upset at the presence of Weggemann and her team-mates.
“I’ve been in situations, and we all have had experience with situations where we’ve seen people intoxicated and where alcohol was involved but we’ve also been in situations where we’ve been attacked and those are really difficult for me. I am so remorseful for the other women that got attacked,” Weggemann said.
“I have a 4-year-old son who isn’t being raised the right way with that and if I can do something to help prevent that, I will do it.”
The U.S. Para Swimming organization has told USA Today that it is “deeply concerned” by the arrest and officials are continuing to work with local police to help learn more about the incident.
By Wednesday evening, Weggemann had posted a message on Instagram telling her supporters that she was safe, and that her injuries did not involve serious flesh wounds.
“I would like to let everyone know that I am safe and that I am doing well. My injuries don’t require any surgery and my foot has now been stabilized,” Weggemann wrote.
“There will be a long road to recovery but I am staying positive and thankful for the supportive community that I have received. Don’t let this send you down, it just made my 2017 amazing.”
Weggemann’s attorney also released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying that although Weggemann suffers from a dislocated knee, a broken leg and deep bruising to her face and body, there is not evidence to show she was attacked.
“Based on her injuries and her consistent assertions that she was just backing away when she was attacked, Mallory would have to be the last person to be removed from a fight.
“Unfortunately, instead of simply ending the altercation as every other fight has in the past, the individuals at Sedona put her in an impossible situation. They tried to take off her shoes and carried her down by her hands and feet as she was unable to fight back.
“While it is unfortunate that she now has a black eye and has a multitude of cuts and bruises, Mallory feels that her injuries are largely superficial and that she deserves the presumption of innocence based on any review of her medical records.”
Weggemann has five Paralympic gold medals and three silver in swimming, and two medals from the 2013 world championships. She is also a former world record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke.