After taking a fall in the warm-up for an X-Games event in Aspen over the weekend, freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru came to Estonia for scans which revealed an injury to the talented skier's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), leaving her out of competition for at least three months.
At the X-Games season opener event in Aspen, Colorado, over the weekend, Sildaru landed on the ramp edge while warming up for the Big Air event. The tumble left her feeling unstability in the same knee that left her out of competition some time back, leading Sildaru to decide against competing in the season opener.
Sildaru is now back in Estonia. The 18-year old spoke with ETV's sports show about her injury on Tuesday: "I stood up right after falling. Since I lost my ski, I climbed to the hill to get it. I skied down as well. I did not feel anything wrong right away. I felt the knee was a little weird and understood coming down that it was not reasonable to go to the start with the knee since it was not sure or stable," Sildaru said.
Sildaru said she held the knee after the crash more than she usually does. "I am not trying to hurt it right now. Since it does not hurt much, I tend to forget about having to keep it safe. I cannot say what will happen once I get back on the mountain," she said.
Test results on Wednesday however showed that Sildaru injured her left ACL. Dr. Madis Rahu said: "Based on tests conducted [on Tuesday], we can say that it is an ACL sprain in her left knee. The restored ACL (in 2017 - ed) is fully visible from the MRI scan, but there is swelling of some connective fibers, indicating that as a mechanism of the injury, the ACL was subject to hypertension. Kelly does not however have the typical bone reactions associated with ACL injuries, nor is there any excess fluid. The knee brace Kelly has used since her previous injury probably saved her from a worse result," Rahu explained.
Sildaru tore her left ACL back in 2017, keeping her out of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Dr. Rahu said the estimated recovery time will be around three months, presuming that muscle performance, coordination and mental readiness is at 100 percent. "Treatment will mainly be physiotherapy to restore joint mobility and muscle performance, which is hindered to some extent with each injury," the sports trauma specialst said.
Sildaru said complete recovery is the main goal. The only World Cup freestyle skiing event left this season is a slopestyle round in Silvaplana, Switzerland in late-March. The remaining competitions have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. So Sildaru will not miss much in the form of competition.
"I am glad the injury turned out to be better than expected. I cannot train at maximum capacity, but I can do different exercises to keep my body in shape," Sildaru said.
"I did not have too many competition starts this season, but the time spent on mountains confirmed that fundamental changes made recently have justified themselves. I am eagerly awaiting the Winter Olympics in Beijing (in 2022 - ed), which we will work toward every day," the skier said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste