Road to Recovery

Below is something I wrote before last season about my ankle injury:

Skeleton is known as a hard core adrenalin-filled sport, as and such injuries can easily happen to those competing. A few weeks before going away for the 2014/15 season I managed to pick up one of the worst injuries I’ve ever had…on the way to a dentist appointment.

Whilst jogging across a bit of grass my ankle rolled over and I heard a crack, and my ankle ballooned to the size of a grapefruit within minutes. X-rays showed no fractures, and there was too much swelling to see much on an ultrasound scan. 

This lead to the one of the tensest preseasons I’ve ever had, with trying to rehab my ankle and get a feel for my new Bromley sled in time for the selection races with the clock ticking down quickly. I managed to recover enough to be able to push a sled and won the selection races to qualify for the World Cup team.

Over the first half of the season my ankle gradually improved and I was confident of being fully recovered in time for the World Championships at the end of the season. After Christmas though, my ankle started to get worse again, and by the time we reached the World Championships I was in a lot of pain whenever I tried to run upright. Luckily I could still push, although the start times I managed in the race were a long way off my best.

A long, slow recovery process started after getting home at the end of the season, but after a few months of rehab work it became obvious that I needed surgery to get my ankle back to where it needed to be. I had a ligament reconstruction surgery done in June, which was followed by six weeks with a cast and crutches and a gradual process back to weight bearing again.

In addition to the support from the EIS I had help from Rob Ellchuk, coach of MANI Athletics Club, and Cleve Chiropractic offered use of their state of the art anti-gravity “Alter-G” treadmill to speed my recovery.

Now that I’ve started pushing a sled again on the push track at Bath University I can almost see the end of the long tunnel. I’m still not fully over the injury from a year ago, but this time I’m confident that when I line up at the World Championships later in the season I’ll be fully fit and ready to push a sled as fast as I ever have.

I managed to get my strength back for the season after having had the surgery, but with no speed in my legs and my ankle regularly getting sore with the cumulative load of travelling, training, and competing, my starts were still only as fast as a retired racing snail.

Another World Championships with another disappointing start performance was hard to take, but since finishing last season and having had time to rest my ankle it’s started looking up again. Sprinting is possible now, and with a little attention from the physio each week my ankle is staying fairly pain free. Now I’m looking at next season with the same hope I had before last one, but fingers crossed this time the outcome will be different.

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