The injury tally continues to rise in Sochi, especially on some of the more dangerous, extreme-style downhill events. The grimmest and most terrifying moment of these Olympics came on Saturday, when a freestyle cross skier, Maria Komissarova, broke a vertebra and dislocated her back, leading to an emergency airlift to Germany for multiple orthopedic surgeries.
Norway’s Helene Olafsen had to drop out after she suffered what has been initially reported as a knee injury. Worse still, American Jackie Hernandez will also be withdrawing after taking a fierce blow to the head. During her qualifying run, Hernandez was knocked completely unconscious after a violent impact with the snow. She regained consciousness a few minutes later, and was attempting to speak with the medics who had rushed to her aid. She was taken down the mountain on her own power, but was very unstable on her feet.
As the former Chief of Sports Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, I have spent much of my career tending to athletes and the injuries they incur from pushing the limits. But here in San Diego, orthopedic surgery is just as likely to be indicated for everyday shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and wrist and elbow injuries. The process is the same in either case: careful diagnosis, expert orthopedic surgery when indicated, followed by vigorous and supportive rehabilitation that takes the entire patient’s needs into account.
Such tools are readily available at San Diego Orthopedic Surgery center. Ms. Komissarova is receiving such care in Germany.