Injuries Plague Freestyle Athletes, Too
BY ERIC WILLIAMS
No Games for Gut
This season’s rash of injuries on the alpine
circuit has been well documented by Ski Racing. Recent stories and online polls have evoked
a huge response from our readers, all with their
own ideas of how to solve the problem. Now the
injury pest has crossed the discipline line, and is
wreaking havoc among freestyle skiers.
First bit was former alpine racer turned ski cross
athlete Casey Puckett. The 37-year-old father of
two and star of the recent documentary
Appointment in Vancouver was within sniffing distance
of his first World Cup victory in Les Contamines,
France, on Jan. 9 when he tangled with a gate
and went down.
USSA (2); GEPA (GU T)
His Universal Sports blog told of the aftermath.
“I try to move and feel a sharp pain in my shoul-
der,” wrote Puckett, remembering the fall. “Sud-
denly a wave of terrible thoughts enters my mind.
‘Oh my god, I think I just broke my clavicle... I’m
done for the year...my run at the Olympics is over.
I let out three primeval screams when I realize
that I just went from the top of the world to noth-
ing, in a tenth of a second.”
An MRI taken back home at the Steadman
Hawkins medical clinic in Vail, Colo., revealed
an acromioclavicular, or AC, joint separation. “I
know I’m in for some intense therapy and rehab,”
wrote Puckett, who said doctors were optimistic
he could return to racing before the Vancouver
Games, with a little work.
U.S. moguls skier Sho Kashima was hit next,
and quite a bit harder. His Olympic trip was cut
short when he injured his left knee while training
for the World Cup event at Deer Valley.
“Well bad news... they diagnosed that I tore at
least my ACL so that’s about 6 months, so that
would mean no Olympics for me,” read Kashi-
ma’s Twitter feed.
Kashima wasn’t the only bumper to go down in
Deer Valley. Five other skiers injured their knees
before the first final round of competition even
A later tweet showed Kashima’s sense of humor
about the unfortunate injury. “To Deer Valley:
Good game buddy, you got me this time. I will be
back, and I know there’s a world championship
here next year... revenge :).”
Kashima, who has collected 10 top- 10 World
Cup results in his career, was one of the key con-
tenders for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Aerialist Emily Cook was also kept out of com-
peting in her local Park City. She bruised her heel
a week earlier at a World Cup event in Calgary
and decided, with team doctors, to continue to
rest it and bypass the Deer Valley contest. Cook,
who is still fighting for spot on the Olympic team
after teammate Lacy Schnoor claimed the only
early ticket to Vancouver at the Olympic Trials on
Christmas Eve, was expected to compete at the
Lake Placid World Cup on Jan. 23.