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Another question for the +50 crowd, Injuries?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have another question for the over 50 crowd. Again, assuming you have skied most of your life.

What was your worst ski injury(s) and how did it happen? At what age did it occur. Did you have to think about getting on skis again and possibly give up the sport? Or did you do everything in your power to rehab so you could ski again asap?

For me it was about 20 years ago when I got caught up in some unskied frozen crud at my local hill where I was a Safety Ranger. I was around 38 at the time. One ski went one way while the other ski went the other way. I felt like a human wishbone till I threw myself to the ground as a tree was quickly approaching. I felt that awful pop in my right knee as I fell.

To make matters worse I was leaving in 6 weeks for an epic buddy trip to Whistler. I got checked out at ski partrol and was told to go see an orthopedest. By the time I got in I was 5 weeks away. Had an MRI done and I had a medial collateral sprain and a small tear in the miniscus. When told of my trip the DR (also a skier) said cancel it. I said I would prefer to think of what I could possibly do too rehab in time. Fortunaely since I was on the clock when it happened, workmans comp would be picking up the tab.

So she put me on a rehab schedule and ordered a Donjoy brace for me with the understanding that I would only go if she cleared me. Well I worked diligently on the rehab and surprised her at my appointment 2 days prior to leaving by passing every agility test she gave me with or without the brace. My ex use to joke that she never saw me work so hard on anything before. I guess including our marriage. LOL

She made me promise that I would take it easy and stay out of the bumps. That lasted about a day and a half as I gained confidence in my braced knee. I used the brace for the rest of the season and the next and it has been in the closet unused since.

So for me, I needed to do everything I could to ski again, Dr's be damned.

Rick G
post #2 of 22

Me again. Now 54 and it happened Valentines Day last year. I booted out (I think) in a high speed turn. Fell on my outstretched right arm causing a dislocation, torn labrum and tear of supraspinatus (rotator cuff). Did some range of motion exercises for about 6 weeks with little improvement. When  doc started talking surgery, I got my ass back in the gym. I developed a stretching routine that I did in the car too. Within six months of 4-5 days pw in gym, I was pain free and at about 90%. Now I am probably at 110% of where I was  - stronger than when I fell.

This is one injury that is "better" for us old guys. If you dislocate before age 20, you have a 90% chance of reocurrance. If first one is over 50, only a 10% chance. It is because a spontaneous dislocation is caused by lax ligaments. Younger ligaments are more elastic. Older ones less so.

Nothing like an injury to make you learn about your body.

I never thought of hanging up the boards after this experience. I am absolutely thrilled to be back on snow. I thought I would slow down. I haven't. I just bought longer skis. biggrin.gif

post #3 of 22

I always wear ACE sleeve knee braces when skiing. In 37 years I've taken 2 nasty falls and both time the braces protected my knees and I sustained no damage. The braces also support your quads lessening the quad burn all day!

The worst injury was a seperated shoulder. Strange because I didn't feel or remember flipping, just seeing the ground fly by below my head. The doctors were a complete waste of $, other than a sling and ice they did nothing, time healded it. 57 now.

post #4 of 22

Prior to my post about being run down 2/11/11. My next worst injury on the slopes was a partially torn MCL more than 5yrs ago. I caught a rock going down the backside of Tucker Mt at Copper. No surgery was required, but I wore an ACE knee brace for most of the following season. Lots of heat, stretching, and glucosamine helped the rehab.

post #5 of 22

I'm 53 now.

 

I compressed my T3 and T4, sustained a major concussion and broke several teeth when I was 19. I was racing in a DH in Italy. Helicopter to airport. Root canals while in traction. Morphine and wine. During the second day lying on my back I decided I was giving up racing and going back to college. I never thought about giving up skiing.

 

(full story: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/92415/your-edge-of-never-contest#post_1204563)

 

The recovery was 3 months in a body cast and then I was pretty much on my own. No specific PT and only occasional checkups that were to confirm my back was stable. No surgery. Never a problem since then with my back.

 

in the 80s, when I was 30 or so, I tore my left ACL. I was looking up the hill at a junction, my left ski got light and went left then right in an instance, severing my ACL. I heard it. I felt it. I layed down. I was supposed to be going to CO in a couple weeks. OS drained a ton of fluid from the knee and said no go. He also said no surgery, I could go without. I did PT to get strong, took up mt. bike racing and got super strong over the summer. The following winter I went to WY with my bro and started to learn to backcountry ski. Did Corbets, did the Pass. I was as strong as ever and loving skiing. I subsequently took up telemark and did that for 10 years exclusively.

 

I moved to CO in 2000 and had my ACL reconstructed in the spring of 2001 (patellar tendon graft) as I was experiencing chronic pain from simply walking. The surgery went well and I used a brace for a couple seasons. I returned to racing in 2002. I was in excellent condition. I tore my right ACL while training GS. I skied off the course and got lazy. My right ski decided to track left and right quickly (just like the left had done in the 80s) and I felt and heard the same things. I had this ACL rebuilt (again patellar tendon graft), didn't ski until the following season and used a brace on that leg, eschewing the brace on the other knee. The next season I tweaked the knee in a right footed GS turn when my ski got stuck in a hole in a rut. I told my OS that I wanted to race in 4 weeks and he scoped my knee and gave me an Rx to get there. I had to pass tests and did a week before the DHs. I won one race and was second in the other.

 

Since then I've had minor tweaks to the knees, but nothing the caused inflamation or pain.

 

I've also had 3 shoulder separations (levels 1 and 2) from biking (1 road, 2 mt.)

 

I've never thought about giving up biking or skiing because of the injuries, but I have stepped away from racing to the point where I only ski race once or twice a year. My choice is to preserve what I have so that I can ski as long as possible.

 

Oh, I did hit a tree last week, a few stitches and a black eye. I was going slow so that the impact was easily managed. I choose to go no faster than I am willing to hit something these days.

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I'm 53 now.

 

I compressed my T3 and T4, sustained a major concussion and broke several teeth when I was 19. I was racing in a DH in Italy. Helicopter to airport. Root canals while in traction. Morphine and wine. During the second day lying on my back I decided I was giving up racing and going back to college. I never thought about giving up skiing.

 

(full story: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/92415/your-edge-of-never-contest#post_1204563)

 

The recovery was 3 months in a body cast and then I was pretty much on my own. No specific PT and only occasional checkups that were to confirm my back was stable. No surgery. Never a problem since then with my back.

 

in the 80s, when I was 30 or so, I tore my left ACL. I was looking up the hill at a junction, my left ski got light and went left then right in an instance, severing my ACL. I heard it. I felt it. I layed down. I was supposed to be going to CO in a couple weeks. OS drained a ton of fluid from the knee and said no go. He also said no surgery, I could go without. I did PT to get strong, took up mt. bike racing and got super strong over the summer. The following winter I went to WY with my bro and started to learn to backcountry ski. Did Corbets, did the Pass. I was as strong as ever and loving skiing. I subsequently took up telemark and did that for 10 years exclusively.

 

I moved to CO in 2000 and had my ACL reconstructed in the spring of 2001 (patellar tendon graft) as I was experiencing chronic pain from simply walking. The surgery went well and I used a brace for a couple seasons. I returned to racing in 2002. I was in excellent condition. I tore my right ACL while training GS. I skied off the course and got lazy. My right ski decided to track left and right quickly (just like the left had done in the 80s) and I felt and heard the same things. I had this ACL rebuilt (again patellar tendon graft), didn't ski until the following season and used a brace on that leg, eschewing the brace on the other knee. The next season I tweaked the knee in a right footed GS turn when my ski got stuck in a hole in a rut. I told my OS that I wanted to race in 4 weeks and he scoped my knee and gave me an Rx to get there. I had to pass tests and did a week before the DHs. I won one race and was second in the other.

 

Since then I've had minor tweaks to the knees, but nothing the caused inflamation or pain.

 

I've also had 3 shoulder separations (levels 1 and 2) from biking (1 road, 2 mt.)

 

I've never thought about giving up biking or skiing because of the injuries, but I have stepped away from racing to the point where I only ski race once or twice a year. My choice is to preserve what I have so that I can ski as long as possible.

 

Oh, I did hit a tree last week, a few stitches and a black eye. I was going slow so that the impact was easily managed. I choose to go no faster than I am willing to hit something these days.


Geeesh. I am now embarassed to even bring up my spleeny little shoulder injury. MR, there is nothing wrong with being a bit nicer to yourself.wink.gif
 

post #7 of 22

I'm 57 now but when I was 11 I took a twisting fall on a wood skis - leather boots - cable bindings setup that did not release. I sustained a spiral fracture of both the tibia and fibula. It hurt a lot. It took me 6 months to recover completely.  I never thought to quit skiing.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
MastersRacer,

You are making me rethink my recent obsession with racing. 5 seasons ago when I was convinced to give racing a try (after 35 years of skiing without ever racing) one of the reasons I was giving as to why I didn't want to race was the injury factor. I knew that I would push myself, possibly to the point of crashing. But I eventually relented, qualified on a Sat and took home a bronze on Sunday and was hooked.

Now that I have been bumped to A Vet, I am just about the only guy not wearing extra armor other than helmet and a pair of winter motorcycle gloves that have some knuckle padding. I have been looking at getting some shin and hand guards for slalom and possibly some light upper body armor to wear under my ski clothes like you might use in motorcross. I think Knox makes some.

In addition to my one knee injury, I have over the years...

Broken numerous thumbs from falling and holding onto my poles

Slashed my knee open on my ski edge after crashing in the bumps. Minor injury but what a bloody mess! Happened while on Ranger duty again and ruined a brand new pair of Seven Springs issue Gore-Tex ski pants.

Minor concussion from crashing and hitting my head on hardpack. This was before the days of helmets.

Cracked rib from crash at Jackson Hole. Wish I could say it was Corbetts, but it was flat light on a cat track and hitting an invisible divot.

Various other bumps and bruises that just comes with being an aggressive skier.

Rick G
post #9 of 22

A few minor sprains (back in the day for me the medical term was "did something to my knee" a few times, and the cure was to take it easy until it felt better; it never felt better, but I eventually got used to it) and minor  fractures (wrist(radius), thumb,ribs) and one possible concussion is it for me. 

post #10 of 22

Probably my worst injury was the 1995 severing of an Achilles tendon on my third day of skiing, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Spent half the next year in casts and a boot after the tendon was reconnected.

 

But I've also had a shoulder fracture/dislocation that took half a year to get over,  a sternum cartlidge separation that took 10 years to get over, a torn calf muscle that took two months to get over and a skull fracture my wife says I've never gotten over.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Probably my worst injury was the 1995 severing of an Achilles tendon on my third day of skiing, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Spent half the next year in casts and a boot after the tendon was reconnected.

 

But I've also had a shoulder fracture/dislocation that took half a year to get over,  a sternum cartlidge separation that took 10 years to get over, a torn calf muscle that took two months to get over and a skull fracture my wife says I've never gotten over.


Damn, with that record have you considered a different sport? biggrin.gif

Seriously if you are like me, skiing is simply a part of my life. I refuse to live with out it! Thankfully my non-skiing wife understands.

Rick G
post #12 of 22

I'm now 59 and I tweaked an ACL on my very first day skiing at age 17. Got to gimp around school with an Ace bandage for week. About three years later I took a shot to the noggin from a loose ski. And a shot to each arm, each leg, my torso and my back. Those were the days when skis were tethered to feet and your yard sales traveled with you as you tumbled down the hill. Ouch. And before I got my Scott "thumb buster" grips, I zinged a thumb on nearly every fall. Since acquiring the "thumb busters" my thumbs have never been hurt.

post #13 of 22

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post

MastersRacer,

You are making me rethink my recent obsession with racing. 5 seasons ago when I was convinced to give racing a try (after 35 years of skiing without ever racing) one of the reasons I was giving as to why I didn't want to race was the injury factor. I knew that I would push myself, possibly to the point of crashing. But I eventually relented, qualified on a Sat and took home a bronze on Sunday and was hooked.

Now that I have been bumped to A Vet, I am just about the only guy not wearing extra armor other than helmet and a pair of winter motorcycle gloves that have some knuckle padding. I have been looking at getting some shin and hand guards for slalom and possibly some light upper body armor to wear under my ski clothes like you might use in motorcross. I think Knox makes some.

In addition to my one knee injury, I have over the years...

Broken numerous thumbs from falling and holding onto my poles

Slashed my knee open on my ski edge after crashing in the bumps. Minor injury but what a bloody mess! Happened while on Ranger duty again and ruined a brand new pair of Seven Springs issue Gore-Tex ski pants.

Minor concussion from crashing and hitting my head on hardpack. This was before the days of helmets.

Cracked rib from crash at Jackson Hole. Wish I could say it was Corbetts, but it was flat light on a cat track and hitting an invisible divot.

Various other bumps and bruises that just comes with being an aggressive skier.

Rick G
 


Rick G,

 

Skiing in itself isn't the safest thing you can do. Racing just ups the ante a bit. The two major factors to success are your conditioning and your technique. Physical strength is paramount to success at any level. Technique is obvious. Skiing poorly simply invites injury. Skiing well however increases the forces and speeds you must endure and if you do fall the potential for severe injury. Attitude is huge as well. When you leave the start gate, you need to be totally focused on the job at hand and prepared to follow through on your race plan.

 

One of my reasons for leaving racing was that I had met my goal of returning to ski racing, competing at a high level, especially in DH and retiring standing up. Other factors were physical conditioning and cost. I couldn't train like I should, both before and during race season, to race as competitvely as I wanted to. I can't step into a start and just say 'ski the course, it doesn't matter if you win'. I just can't; I'm too competitive. Also the costs just got out of hand for race fees and gear.

 

Take your racing day by day. Know your limits and race with them in mind. Your limits will continue to shift; be aware of that and plan your races accordingly. Get some more protection for SL at least. They make 'stealth' tops that are padded and designed to be worn inside a speed suit. Back protectors are good, too.

 

Best of luck racing,

 

MR

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
MR,

Thanks for the advice. Our league is basically a beer league. But some of the guys have been at it for 20-30 years or even more and take it seriously especially in the upper levels where I find myself now. Honestly I don't know if I am quite ready for the "A" groups. I earned my strikes and bumps on the two easiest hills we race on. After our big Bristol Combined weekend coming up I will know if I belong or not. Bristol has the most challenging courses and our only super G. But I am having a lot of fun with it.

Rick G
post #15 of 22

If you'd been wearing the ACE brace during the fall the injury might have been nothing. Wear them everyday you ski!

post #16 of 22

I sprained my thumb twice, 2 years in a row at the exact same spot on Mt Lemmon. I went out and bought the best poles with great thumb protection and have used those poles for about 25 years, replacing the shafts twice. The old Scott grips give me extra leverage, to the point I have to careful not to hurt my wrist! But I've never hurt the thumb again. Unfortunately those grips haven't been available for decades. Did see some grips for sale with serious thumb protection about 10 years ago, may be available.

post #17 of 22

Unlike most of you, virtually all of my injuries have come in the last few years when I was nearly or over 50.  A torn MCL, 3 shoulder dislocations, a bruised liver, and 4 trips down the hill in a sled (shoulder dislocations and the bruised liver).  It hasn't really affected my skiing or commitment to improving though.  Well, I am a bit more cautious.

 

Mike

post #18 of 22

Didn't happen to me, but a neurosurgeon I know broke both thumbs skiing....FYI, you only make money when you operate as a surgeon, no such thing as sick days. He was out for 6 weeks....

And, you cancel someone's back surgery because you broke your thumbs, you aren't seeing that patient reschedule. He's going to find another doc...

 

The thing that did happen to me happened with snowboarding. I hyperextended my ankle (bent it backwards) and fractured my talus bone. It was misdiagnosed by an orthopod as a "high sprain" and it took a podiatrist 18 months to completely fix it with a cadaveric bone and cartilage graft...

post #19 of 22

Let me see.

 

Sprained angle when I was about 7. I only remember I couldn't put any weight on it for weeks.

 

Torn rotator cuff in 1982 (happened 2nd day of a 5 day trip, I skied the rest of the week...smile.gif)

Must have taken 6 months to heal. Doctor said my shoulder would never be the same unless I had surgery. Flash to present, never had surgery & if wasn't for the fact that I remember I had to reach across my body to close the car door I wouldn't know which shoulder it was. I did lose the rest of the ski season though.

 

Broken thumb 1998. Put a wool sock with a plastic bag over the cast  & was skiing a few days later. Only thing I couldn't zip my parka up so I had to ask someone for help every time I went out

 

Kissed a tree 2001. Bruised ribs pretty good (still have a lump there), severely injured both wrists but not broken. Both hands looked like they were dead for a week turning a grey/black color. Couldn't use either wrist for weeks (unable to turn a key & when I showered my wife had to adjust the water temp because I couldn't turn the knobs. Fortunately it happened near the end of the season because I couldn't ski but was back at it next season & still enjoy skiing the woods.

 

I'm 54 now & fortunately nothing to report since then.

post #20 of 22

Wow, you guys are sort of accident prone! I thought I was clumsy!

 

If snowboarding counts, my worst injury was a fractured radius sustained two months ago at age 54. I'm kind of afraid to snowboard again but reading this thread makes me feel like a wimp.

 

I broke a collarbone once skiing, and twice bicycling but never considered stopping either activity. I don't ski much anymore, but it's because of the expense, not the injury. I bicycle a lot but that's also mainly because of the expenses involved in other forms of transportation. Cracked ribs a couple times and broken finger from bicycling. Hmmm, I guess I'm kind of accident prone, too. redface.gif

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
OP here.

It is really good to see that I am not the only old geezer out there who has had a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Keep the stories coming. Misery loves company! LOL

Rick G
post #22 of 22

On the second run of the first day of skiing last year, December 29, 2009, I did something I wish I could undo, which was going into the trees.  My 17 year-old son and I went into a section of woods in the back bowls at Vail.  The snow was probably about 16 - 18 inches deep but over the forest floor, no base.  His ski got ripped off by something that snagged it.  I warned him to be careful, keep his tips up, and said let's get out of here, it's no good.  So I started on my way and no more than 15 feet later, going about walking speed, my right, downhill ski went under a fallen tree section.  I pivoted and went back first, down hill and watched as my lower right leg broke cleanly in half above the boot.  I was 54 at the time.  Surprisingly, it did not hurt.  It was creepy, but no pain.  And I did not go into shock.  I called to my son and first asked him to get my skis off.  Then I asked him to reorient my foot back up so my toes were facing the same direction as my kneecap. (almost 180 degrees)  Once that was done I asked him to move my foot just a little closer to me - it felt about an eighth of an inch too far away.  I could move my toes but I didn't try anything else.  As things were, everything was ok, no blood, no pain, and movement f my toes.   Finally, taking our time, we pivoted my self and my leg around so that my feet were no longer above my head.  It was quite steep and we arranged so that I was in sort of a sitting position facing downhill.  That took awhile.  We called the ski patrol and they got me out of there.

 

That afternoon after seeing the x-rays I agreed to have a titanium rod inserted down the middle of my tibia, with screws at the top and bottom.  The surgery went well.  I never had to have a cast, and after 8 weeks on crutches I slowly began to walk.  I was playing tennis two months later.  I have since had the lower screws removed and am going to have the uppers removed in a couple of weeks.

 

Both the tibia and fibula were broken clean in two.  The upper section of the tibia was spirally fractured into about 15 more pieces, and there were various pieces around it's main break.  This picture was taken at three weeks:

 

upper section with rod and screws at 3 wks.jpg

 

I had tennis related surgery on the knee of this same leg 5 years ago.  The following ski season I was tentative and couldn't relax.  My brain didn't trust the surgery aftermath and it was only the following season that I felt normal again.  This time, there was none of that.  Other than the fact that my doctor told me that bending the bar would not be good (CREEPY) I feel great this season and have been 9 days, which for me is a lot.  I felt fine the first run of the season and it's just been getting better since.

 

One of the most interesting things was right after I got to Vail Valley Medical Clinic, once they got me on the IV and oxygen, I was sitting there on the gurney and I asked one of the staff, "are you going to have to cut my boot off or what?"  "No," she said, "we'll get it off fine, don't worry".  I told her I didn't want it to hurt and she reassured me it wouldn't.  Ok, fine.  So a few minutes later these four people show up,  I asked them if there were there to take off the boot and they said they were.  One noticed I was lightly scratching my nostrils.  She said, "oh, I see you are scratching your nose - that's because of the chemical we are introducing to the oxygen.  It makes you forget."  Some time after that I looked down and there were my boots, on the floor next to the gurney.  That segment of my life is totally gone.  Crazy.  Anyway, been having a great season this year and the snow has been incredible.  If you're interested, here's some footage I shot this past weekend in the back bowls of Vail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPPp6wNE-RA

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