We were the second training group so we got to spy on the first group of our fellow ski crossers. All of the girls were absorbing these 4 big rollers in a row. It didn’t look fast.
The first training run I just felt it out and did the same. The third run Kelsey and I were confident we could double those big rollers just like the guys were doing. I went first and doubled the 2 rollers easily, but wasn’t ready for the one after. Instead of absorbing the roller following, I was a bit back on my heals and shot off of it landing on the take off of the next step up feature with my butt on my bindings. My left ski caught a bit of an edge and I landed on the other side of the jump with adrenaline pumping through my body. I hobbled off to the side of the course and watched the roller section that did me in for the rest of the training.
We figured since I couldn’t click into my skis without two people helping me push down, that I should go get an MRI to see what damage I had done.
What a bad time for my first injury ever.
The doctor came in and said he had “mixed information” for me. I had torn most of my ACL, partially torn my MCL, had a complex tear in my Medial Meniscus, and a bad bone bruise in my Tibia. When asked what my chances were for competing in the games he told us 60%.
I spent the time in Lake Placid, while the rest of the team was racing, crutching around, icing constantly and going to my physio (Chris Napier) twice a day. In between all of that I was doing a lot of repetitions of tedious exercises.
On the way to Aspen we made a stop in Vail for a doctor’s second opinion. He caught something in the MRI that the others didn’t see. I also had what is called a bucket-handle tear in my Lateral Meniscus. My Meniscus was torn horizontally and folded on top of itself! This made things much worse and explained why I couldn’t get pass 100 degrees while bending my knee in physio. He told me it was very risky to race in the Games and recommended against trying.
The drive to Aspen was not the greatest road trip after that news. But I decided I would continue with what my physio and I were doing. Physio twice a day with tedious exercises, a lot of icing and being a part of a cheering squad for my team mates.
One more doctor appointment with the Olympic doc in Vancouver as soon as I got home pushed me in the direction of Arthroscopic Surgery to clip out my bucket handle tear in my Meniscus if it wasn’t repairable. The catch was, if my Meniscus was repairable they would go ahead and re-construct everything in my knee, which would leave me immobile for sometime after and unable to race. It was the first time I’ve hoped for something in my body to be irreparable.
I came out of the surgery with a little less Meniscus and a whole lot more range of motion.
To get me to the Olympic debut of ski cross consisted of some tough decisions, 100 hours of physio, plenty of gym sessions and many nights sleeping with my ice machine.