The Story of the Torn ACL

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be splinted, packaged up, and sledded down a mountain by ski patrol? No? Well, I found out the hard way…

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Yup – those are my legs and my skis, strapped into a sled.

Let me rewind to the beginning. My sister won tickets for a day of skiing through work and decided to take me as her skiing buddy. Last week was a really long week for a wide variety of reasons, and both of us were super excited to have a “mental health day”. We headed up to beautiful Squaw Valley, got our skis, and hit the slopes.

We were having a wonderful time. The runs there are ridiculously long and it was an absolute blast. We were getting close to the end of the last one and had decided that we would go grab some lunch when we got to the bottom.

Then, I fell. It was not anything dramatic, or exciting, or spectacular. The edge of my downhill ski caught funny and as I fell, my boot stayed hooked in, and my knee twisted awkwardly. I heard and felt a very audible “pop” – much like bubble wrap. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel much pain. Then I tried to stand up. I instantly felt super queasy and clammy. Kati and I got me over to the side of the run where I decided to sit for a while. I tried to stand back up and get my boot back into the binding, but my knee felt super squishy and started to hurt. I knew right then that something was really wrong.

My sister skied down the hill to find the ski patrol, who came up pretty quickly. They were super funny and took really good care of me. They splinted my knee, strapped me into their little toboggan, and skied me down to the medical center, where there happened to be a sports medicine specialist (talk about good positioning!). He took some x-rays that showed nothing was broken, moved my knee all over the place, and told me I had torn my ACL.

We headed home with a brace and crutches, and the small hope that maybe the doctor at the resort (who probably sees five of these a day) didn’t know for sure. I have spent the past few days at my parents house because we’re having our floors replaced and mine is a hot mess. They’ve taken such good care of me, giving me plenty of time to rest, ice, and elevate! I went to my doctor who sent me over to the orthopedic specialists. They did an MRI and yesterday I got confirmation that my ACL is completely torn.

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I had my pity party, a good cry, and now I’m ready for action. Surgery is pretty much the only option if I want to get back to riding and the other activities that I do, so now I’m waiting for my surgery date. I will be happy to talk to the doctor, find out which surgical options are best for me (there are a couple different ones), and to ask all of my questions. Most of all, I just want to get it done so that I can get to work building my muscles back up and can get back on my horse!

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