Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he is lucky not to have suffered permanent damage to his spinal cord in a fall that will keep him off work for at least another six weeks.
The 48-year-old was discharged from hospital on Monday, six days after slipping on wet stairs at a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula.
"As you know, at around 6:30am last Tuesday, I fell heavily on wooden steps at the front of a rental beach house that our family had been staying at for the long weekend," Mr Andrews said in a statement on Monday.
"I landed flat on my back and hit the steps hard directly below the shoulder blades fracturing at least five ribs and sustaining an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra.
"I narrowly avoided permanent damage to my spinal cord."
Mr Andrews said his injuries were serious and would require him to wear a brace throughout the day, except while sleeping.
"My doctors also want me to get rest and undertake a comprehensive program of physiotherapy," he said, confirming he would take a leave of absence for six weeks.
Deputy Premier James Merlino, who also holds the education and mental health portfolios, will remain as acting premier in Mr Andrews' absence.
"As one trauma specialist said to (wife) Cath and I last week, 'you very narrowly avoided a life-changing injury, you should buy a Tattslotto ticket, you are very lucky to be here in one piece'," Mr Andrews said.
"I'm not sure about the Tattslotto ticket but I'm certain that with rest, continued high-quality care and the support of family, friends, colleagues and the Victorian community, I'll be back doing the job I love as soon as possible."
Mr Andrews was initially taken by ambulance to Peninsula Private Hospital before he was transferred to The Alfred trauma centre, where he remained in intensive care until Saturday.
The hospital's director of trauma services Mark Fitzgerald said the team of specialists caring for the premier was pleased with his progress, but warned the road to recovery will be long.
"Mr Andrews has responded well without surgery so far, and the work to improve his strength and mobility must now begin," Professor Fitzgerald said in a statement.
"As the rehabilitation journey gets underway, we will watch closely for any signs of worsening spinal stability or alignment, as well as the development of other complications."
Prof Fitzgerald said while Mr Andrews did not need surgery at this time, it may be required at some point.
Senior government minister Jacinta Allan said she was surprised Mr Andrews was out of hospital so soon.
"It has been really heartening to see the news come through this morning about Daniel's recovery," she told reporters.
"He obviously has a journey ahead, but he's recovering strongly."
Mr Andrews' rehabilitation will be done at home through The Alfred's Better@Home service.
Australian Associated Press
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