It’s been a long road to recovery for U.S. speed skier Steven Nyman following his season-derailing crash in Wengen last January. But the 27-year-old, Utah native now has high hopes his aches and pains are behind him.

Despite some perennial nagging back pain, Nyman was pulling in promising results earl in the 2008-09 season, with two top-ten finishes in World Cup downhills in Beaver Creek and at the U.S. men’s record-breaking run in Val Gardena. But the very next downhill in Wengen would put Nyman’s progress on ice as he crashed into a gate and slid across the finish line on his back.
It’s been a long road to recovery for U.S. speed skier Steven Nyman following his season-derailing crash in Wengen last January. But the 27-year-old, Utah native now has high hopes his aches and pains are behind him.

Despite some perennial nagging back pain, Nyman was pulling in promising results earl in the 2008-09 season, with two top-ten finishes in World Cup downhills in Beaver Creek and at the U.S. men’s record-breaking run in Val Gardena. But the very next downhill in Wengen would put Nyman’s progress on ice as he crashed into a gate and slid across the finish line on his back.

“After my crash in Wengen I should have stopped skiing for the rest of the year,” says Nyman, who stayed with the team in Europe in hopes he would be ready to race in the World Championships in early February. “I was powder skiing and it felt fine, I was thinking I’d be fine for racing, but in training it was killing me.” He then opted to head home for some rehab while eyeing a return to the World Cup in March. 

Even in his battered state, Nyman managed a top-30 finish in his next downhill at Kvitfjell in early March. But, after his leg gave out in another downhill the following day, he knew it was time to take a better look at his injuries.

“We approached it and kept trying to work it but we didn’t realize magnitude of it,” says Nyman. “In the crash you can see my knees just smacking in the gates, causing a bone bruise on my patella and a flare up in my plica.”

An MRI reveled a flared up quad tendon, bruised patella, an edema in the patella and a minor tear in the quad tendon. “All those injuries stacking up in there just shows how aggressive ski racing is on your body,” says Nyman.

Hoping for a quick recovery, Nyman hit the gym but the desired results didn’t come. 
“We got on this kick that I couldn’t loose my fitness, so I was always biking, and I think since I was always doing stuff I never allowed it to chill out, and it just kept flaring up worse and worse.”

After pulling the plug on the season Nyman rested his knees the entire month of March. “The doctors told me I needed to rest in March and I took ten weeks off with nothing, my knees still hurt, but I could still bike so that kept me sane,” says Nyman.

When the pain persisted and his sanity ran out Nyman and team doctors consulted the famed Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, where Nyman underwent a double knee scope July 23. “They found a bunch of junk especially in the left knee,” says Nyman. “The doctors discovered that the plica had flared up and attached to the quad tendon, not allowing it to heal, and it prevented everything from moving right.”

Even before leaving Colorado Nyman and his doctors were feeling good about the results. “On day two after surgery I already had full range of motion and not much swelling,” says Nyman. “I just have to stay on top of it and keep the swelling low and everything will be pretty good I feel.”

Though the procedure prevented Nyman from pre-season team training in New Zealand, a more technical based camp, he is optimistic he can get back on skis for the team’s speed training in Chile in September.

Though an eight-week turn around from surgery to skiing is a tall order, Nyman feels confident he can hit the ground running this season. “I feel like my lungs and core are in really good shape so it’s just a matter of getting my legs back,” says Nyman. “I really don’t feel like it takes that long to get legs in shape so I don’t feel like I am that far from where I need to be.”

“I learned a lot about my knees in this little adventure I had,” says Nyman. “Doctors Sterett, Steadman, Cooley, Buhler, Palic and Orr have done an amazing job.” 

Article Tags: Alpine

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