Well, this was definitely not the post I wanted to write today. As I sit here with my foot elevated wrapped in a cast, all I can think of is how mad I am at myself right now.
Geez Ryan… Why did you have to go and do that?
It all happened on my last run during the finals at the World Cup in Kreischberg, Austria.
By the time the finals were underway, it was late in the day. The sun had already dipped behind the mountains, making the course dark and hard to spot the landings while in the air. But as an athlete, when it comes to contest time it doesn't matter how bad the conditions are. You’re in the zone, pumped up and feeling fearless.
Here's a clip from a practice day. Dark, dark, dark!
Already have landed my first two runs, I was sitting on a high score only a few points behind the leader. With one run left, I knew exactly what was needed to win.
From the moment I dropped in, up until the last feature in the course everything seemed to be coming together flawlessly. But as I launched off the final jump into the air, during the midst of my maneuver I lost sight of the ground. Now I don’t think I need to explain that this is not what you want to happen at 25ft up in the air while flipping and spinning a distance of 70ft.
What seemed like a lifetime in the moment was probably less than a second in reality. As the ground appeared from the shadows, I frantically twisted my feet somewhat under me before smashing into the icy landing. Within a split second, my body compressed to the ground, rolling over my front foot and was sent tumbling down the slope.
Here I am sliding to a stop after the hard impact.
When I finally came to a stop and slowly tried to stand, a throbbing numbness in my foot became apparent. But with the crowd cheering and adrenaline pumping, after hobbling towards the finish corral the pain in my foot started to dissipate.
For the next half hour, I stood at the bottom of course watching the last few competitors in anticipation before running around celebrating my 2nd place finish! After another half hour of jumping on and off the podium and spraying champagne at the other medalists.. my foot seemed to be doing alright. That was until my boot came off and the swelling began.
Right after the event, with the cars already packed, the team and I were directly en-route to Switzerland for the next event. So I filled a bag full of snow and hit the road. But even after hours of ice and elevating my foot, the swelling only worsened.
The next morning it was apparent something wasn't right. My team doctor scheduled an appointment for me in Zurich to have imaging done and to hear my fate. After an X-ray, MRI and CT scan, the doctors told me I had a broken navicular bone with a slight impression of the talus and bruising to the talar head. All I heard at the time was my season was over.
Road to Recovery
I guess there’s really never a good time to hurt yourself, but I would have preferred it being closer to the end of the season. I was only five events down in an 18 event tour. It’s just a bummer that I spent months and countless hours training for this season and it’s now over. But I guess that’s the name of the game. Sometimes you have to pay to play.
Over the years, I’ve broken many bones and each time, I was able to come back stronger and more determined than ever! Even though I’m bummed now, I understand this will all pass and with a lot of hard work and effort… I know I’ll be right back up there on the podium again.
Here’s to a speedy recovery!