Obama Banged Up Playing Basketball

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010  |  Updated 10:06 AM EDT
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President Barack Obama leaves Ft. McNair Army Base after he was struck in the face by an elbow during a basketball game that required 12 stitches in his lip.

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The president took an elbow to the face playing basketball Friday morning and required 12 stitches to close a cut on his lip.

President Barack Obama was playing basketball with friends and family in the gym at Fort McNair when he took the inadvertent blow, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

The man attached to the offending elbow is Rey Decerega, who works at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Decerega said he enjoys playing basketball with Obama and is sure the president will be on the court again soon.

Among the players were Obama's nephew, Avery Robinson, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Reggie Love, Obama's personal assistant, who played at Duke University, the Associated Press reported.

The White House said the injury happened during their fifth and final game of five-on-five when Decerega turned to take a shot and hit Obama, who was playing defense.

Obama was stitched up by the White House Medical Unit on the ground floor of the White House. A smaller than standard filament was used, resulting in more stitches but a tighter stitch for a smaller scar.

Medical help is always nearby for U.S. presidents. A doctor or nurse is stationed at the White House around the clock and accompanies the president in his motorcade and aboard Air Force One.

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