Kelly McBroom’s world cup ski dreams have plunged into the nightmare realm yet again.
After spending the past 22 months rehabilitating her knee, the downhill skier will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg.
McBroom suffered the injury on her second training run in preparation for her first European World Cup race in Austria.
“I’m absolutely devastated. This is not where I wanted to be in the slightest,” McBroom said.
The accident comes just over a month after she returned to ski racing after missing almost two years with a torn ACL, MCL and dislocated knee.
The 21-year-old skier had no problems on her first day of training on the course, but the second day proved tragic.
“They set it faster up top. I came over a roller faster than expected and I got a lot of air,” McBroom said.
She landed on a gate, flipped and tumbled several times down the hill and felt her leg snap.
“I knew immediately that it was broken. I kept thinking ‘are you kidding me? This cannot be happening’,” McBroom said.
The break occurred above the boot, and the bone did not penetrate the skin.
“The break was clean, but I developed compartment syndrome. It’s not very common,” McBroom said.
The hospital conducts 200 surgeries a year on broken tibias. Of those, about four patients develop compartment syndrome – which is increased pressure in the muscle compartment that can lead to muscle and nerve damage.
The surgery left a 25 centimetre long, eight centimetre wide incision on her leg that required a second skin graft surgery to cover up the wound. The cut was too wide to sew back together.
“It’s led to three extra surgeries,” McBroom said.
McBroom worked hard to ensure she was in the best shape of her life for her first comeback. Sitting in a hospital bed for 10 days has not been easy, and she had posted several strong results on the North American circuit before flying to Europe, including a top podium finish just before Christmas.
“I’m watching my body fade away,” McBroom said. “I’m gutted. This is truly devastating.”
According to Alpine Canada’s Dr. Stephen French, it is highly unlikely McBroom will be able to ski this year. It’s the second broken leg the women’s program has suffered, as training partner Chemmy Alcott suffered a broken leg at Lake Louise in December. Broken legs tend to take about three months of recovery, however, compartment syndrome complicates it.
Despite a broken heart, McBroom is confident she will return to ski racing.
“I’m confident in the people around me. I put my heart and soul into the last comeback, and I’ll come out of this a stronger person,” McBroom said.
McBroom has received a huge outpouring of support from friends and family on her twitter, Facebook and blog.