Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
Sometimes too much familiarity with settings causes a momentary loss of focus that can put us in situations we cannot get out of quickly enough to avoid bad results. I've experienced a couple of these moments that fortunately have served as a wakeup call to start paying more attention instead of causing injury.
I will vote with this ^^^^, but also think - awkwardness warning - you're in denial about both your age and the severity of your injuries. And am speaking as someone who broke his thumb and nose this December going down on an icy runout after getting blinded monetarily by a snow gun. Eg, I thought I could just motor along as usual, 200 yards from the lodge, and lost focus literally and figuratively.
My argument goes something like this:
1) The only times i've ever been seriously hurt skiing, and I've had some doozies, it's been on runouts, traverses, or on a run that was more demanding further up. And in all cases, on terrain I was well familiar with. So I totally buy into the notion that we tend to relax and drop the level of focus a bit in terrain we "know" really well.And IME skiing is all about focus.
2) Probabilities rule. No matter how good we are, sooner or later we'll get hurt. Or be waaay out on the curve if we're not. As we get older, the severity of what happens at the same level of impact increases.So it means something different to have bad luck at 70 and 30.
3) None of us likes to think we're slowing down, but biomedical science says otherwise. Seriously. You don't have the attentional focus, reflex times, muscle fiber consistency, or bone density you had even a decade ago. You don't recuperate as fast from an injury. So if you ski familiar turf the same way you skied it a decade or two ago, you are actually at higher risk. Not being ageist (not vastly younger myself) but just citing well established biomedical science. Now if you engage in truly heroic levels of physical training year round, you can buffer a good piece of that loss. But not halt it.
4) While I agree that skill sets are one of skiing's best insurance policies, they don't make us bulletproof. In fact, I have come to notice that my injuries these days come more from careless, even trivial miscalculations on easy terrain, while when I was less of skier 20 years ago, my injuries came from being in over my head, and not realizing it in time.
5) If you were out for that long, you suffered a serious concussion. At the end of the day, I'd worry more about that - changes in cognition and memory can take 6 months to a year to get back to normal, if they ever do - than your lacerations or partial facial paralysis. Have you had a neurologist check that side of things out? Also, FWIW, a MCL "sprain" or "strain" is a partial tear. The grade is dependent on the severity of the tear. Two and half weeks may get rid of most of the obvious symptoms and swelling,, but it doesn't allow time for graded rehab, which is the primary way to avoid permanent stretching and risk of further injury or OA. In fact, an orthopedic surgeon will generally want a mild MCL to be on crutches for a week or so, to avoid weight bearing, and then have another few weeks of rehab before returning to normal activities.
6) Maybe all of us zooming beyond middle age should take a deep breath and dial things back a touch, also think about giving our bodies more time to recover before hitting the slopes again, so to speak.