Canada’s Roz Groenewoud Undergoes Knee Surgery Before Olympic Debut

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Calgary’s Roz Groenewoud is expected to make a speedy recovery after she underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees in late December.

The 2012 X Games Champion and 2011 World Champion had injured the lateral meniscus in both knees earlier this season but had been coping well with the pain. However, on her training run before Dew Cup qualifiers last week, she further injured the left lateral meniscus to the point that her knee was no longer fully functional. Despite the pain and limited range of motion, Groenewoud chose to compete — landing a technically difficult run and performing a new trick in competition for the first time. Unfortunately, the instability in her knee caused a number of errors, ultimately resulting in a 10th place finish, good enough to sew up her nomination to the Canadian Olympic squad for Sochi.

With her Olympic spot secure thanks to the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association’s “Method A” selection model, Groenewoud and her team, including Dr. Mark Heard, took the opportunity to use surgical intervention to put her in the best possible position for Sochi.

After a thorough examination and an MRI, the diagnosis was a parrot beak tear on the left lateral meniscus. The only option was arthroscopic surgery of the left knee, otherwise it would continue to become more dysfunctional. Since she was undergoing surgery, the team felt that it was a good chance to also clean up some nagging issues on the right knee meniscus. This was a fortuitous decision as more issues were found during surgery on both knees that didn’t show up on the MRI but all were quickly remedied during surgery.  ”These were important corrections to the menisci of both knees as the problems put her at risk for more severe injuries. I’m very optimistic about a speedy recovery,” said Heard, adding that the prognosis is very good as Groenewoud has two very healthy knees in all other respects plus good leg strength and body mechanics.

Groenewoud is expected to reach full recovery in four to six weeks, which leaves her Sochi plans in tact. What has changed are her holiday plans. Normally, the holiday break is downtime at the Groenewoud family cabin at Castle Mountain Resort in Alberta, but this year she will be working hard to rehab, build her leg strength back to its competition level and get her head back into the game.  Groenewoud will be back in the halfpipe as soon as the swelling in her knee subsides and she has regained her leg strength from surgery.

Groenewoud said, “While it wasn’t my plan to have my first knee surgery happen this close to the Olympics, and on both knees, this is what needed to be done. I feel so fortunate to have been taken care of by the exceptional sport/health professionals associated with our team plus the support of my coaches, Trennon Paynter and Marc Macdonell.  It was a blessing that Dr. Heard made time to see me and perform my surgery.  I can’t wait to ski without so much pain in the New Year and have two fully functional knees. No one said this Road to Sochi would be easy but, luckily, I like challenges.”

For more info, see www.freestyleski.com

Story and photo courtesy of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.

SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles

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