Just three days after placing second at the 2013 Snowboarding National Championships I tore my left ACL and meniscus, even though I wasn’t anywhere near a mountain. It was the second day of high school lacrosse tryouts and full speed was the only option. Towards the end of practice we were working on a defensive drill. While backpedaling I spun around. However, my foot got caught in the ground and didn’t turn with the rest of my body. To this day, the sound of my ligament tearing in two is indelibly impressed in my mind.
As I fell to the ground, writhing in pain, all I could think about was how my future as a professional snowboarder was suddenly in jeopardy and why I was even on this lacrosse field to begin with. I started snowboarding at the age of 6 and got introduced to alpine racing at the age of 9; since then I have been a 2x National Champion and holder of 8 more National snowboard racing titles. I officially turned pro at the age of 15, three months before tearing my ACL. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to race competitively again.
Shorty after my diagnosis at a local hospital, my family and I traveled to New York to meet Dr. Altchek and his team. Following our first meeting, we devised a game plan. Because I was still in school, I couldn’t have the surgery right away, and due to my rigorous snowboarding schedule I had already missed a lot of school time. So we decided to have it a month later, after my last day of school. For optimum results, Dr. Altchek wanted full flexion in my knee before my June 4th surgery date, and with the help of physical therapy we were able to accomplish that goal.
On June 4, Dr. Altchek worked his magic. Surprisingly, the day I had potentially career-ending surgery not only saved my career but also proved one of the most interesting days of my life. The technology and expertise brought to bear on my torn ACL were both mind-blowing, from the receptionist thru Dr. Altchek and Keith Williamson thru the staff in the recovery room. The surgery was an unmitigated success.
After several months of rehab and physical therapy, I began competitive snowboard racing again. My newly recovered knee withstood the considerable pressure and strain I placed on it as I snowboarded my way to one of my best seasons ever. The crowning achieving of the season, aside from Dr. Altchek’s great work, was being named this past August 2015 to the U.S. Snowboard Racing Team. I couldn’t be happier to be…BACK IN THE GAME!
THANK YOU DR. ALTCHEK AND EVERYONE ELSE AT HOSPITAL FOR SPECIAL SURGERY!