Ten-Foot-High Jump back to Health
“It was probably the worst pain I have felt in my life” described Freestyle skier, Sascha Pedenko after suffering an injury to his knee from a fall sustained in warm up run doing a right cork 9, ten feet in the air, during a training camp in New Zealand as he was preparing for the first World Cup of the season.
From the way I caught my edge after my fall and fell again it looked like I hit my head or broke my collarbone so when my coach got down to me he expected me to have a broken collarbone, but I knew almost immediately that something was very wrong with my knee. He was right. A torn ACL, partial MCL tear, and a root tear on his meniscus solidified something was very wrong with his knee, not his collarbone.
But this young skier’s approach was different than most after a knee injury of that magnitude. “Of course, I was mad, but I didn’t really see it as a negative” says Pedenko of his injury, stating he didn’t fully take in what had happened until he returned home from the hospital in New Zealand. “I knew it was bad and I knew I needed surgery, but I thought that this would give me nine months to a year to fix every other ailment in my body that I’ve been neglecting.” As a competitive Freestyle skier, the off-season only provides a three-month break which is often not long enough to recover fully from a long, demanding season. After he made the long trek back to Canada, Sascha was in surgery within 10 days upon his arrival with a positive approach heading into rehab. “I knew that the time spent in the gym for a full year would be really beneficial to my long-term career.”
His rehabilitation journey began one-week post-op after his repair performed by surgeon Dr. Stephen French of Group23 Sports Medicine. He credits his team at CSI Calgary for providing a safe and knowledgeable approach into his carefully constructed personalized return to sport plan, with step-by-step presentations of a clear path he needed to take to return to snow successfully. He noted his strength and conditioning coach, Drew Lawson had advanced experience working with ACL rehabs and took necessary precautions when performing strength building exercises, while physiotherapist Isabel Aldrich-Witt worked blood flow restricted training into his program. “They are very knowledgeable and definitely want the best for me and our whole team. It was great to see that they wanted me back healthy as much as I did.”
Pedenko has his sights set on returning to competition later this year after getting complete clearance from his strength lab testing, a tool he strongly utilized to give him the extra boost of confidence he needed to suit up for the season ahead. “The process could not have been better” as he flips his way back to health, doing a right cork 9, to be exact.