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The road back from injury


Roger
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As some here may know, I ruptured my achilles (front foot) last April and had surgery last May. The surgeon cleared me for any activity I cared to try at 6 months (early as we were targeting February). So, the next weekend, I tried to slalom and found I did not have enough strength in my calf muscle yet to do a deep water start (it cramped before I was half way out of the water). So I continued exercising and in February started back on combos. On my 5th combo set, my friend in the boat said "I think you're finished with these, just ride your slalom next time". So, I tried my slalom and was able to get up, though my calf nearly cramped again. A few sets just following the boat and swerving back and forth across the wake and I eventually ran a 28 off at 32mph. I knew I wasn't going to ski a tournament until after Nationals and I was moving to Men 7, so no need to work back up to 34mph. Eventually, I was running 28 pretty consistently and running a few buoys at 32. So, just before Nationals, I decided to make the binding change I've been wanting to do. I've been on double Vapors since they were introduced as RS1s several years ago, but I have been wearing them tighter and tighter and worrying about not releasing (these had nothing to do with the rupture, it was a badly healed previous tear that calcified and finally let go). Also, now that I had a repaired achilles, I wanted a system where the shell releases mechanically. Installed the latest Reflex front shell and R-Series rear. Took 5 tries to complete a deep water start. Eventually, I was able to get up okay and started trying to run the course and found I had no offside turn at all, the ski simply would not initiate as it did before. I experimented with binding placement going forward as far as 30.5" from the recommended 29.75 (2016 67" Vapor). Made the fin as long as 7.000" and still no offside. The other issue I was having was the inside ankle bone of the rear foot was very sore after every set and took a couple of days to settle. I've run my boots straight for many years, but in an attempt to alleviate the stress, I rotated the rear. Boom, offside turn spectacular, onside turn now loose though. I moved the bindings back to stock and reset the fin to stock which helped a lot. Moved the fin back ten thousands inch and it's pretty good. So now it's September and we have two 2 Rnd tournaments on the 15th and 16th. So Tuesday and Thursday nights, I do up the line practice. I run both 28 openers and miss both 32s on the first try. The previous weekend, I did run one 32 up the line and also missed one a couple of times. So before the tournament, I had run 4 32s total, missing 3 of them on the first try. Not even totally confident I can run my opener behind boats I haven't skied behind in two seasons, I decide to ski the tournaments.

Saturday Rnd1 Malibu: 3.5 @ 32.

Saturday Rnd2 Mastercraft (I own one): 1.5 @ 35

Sunday Rnd1 Ski Natuque 2019: 4 @ 32

Sunday Rnd2 Malibu: 2 @ 35

 

With all the rehab time, binding change (the biggest item here), rhythm change, etc., I'm pretty happy. I believe once I get fully comfortable with the new speed and my binding system, I will exceed my previous average.

My average in tournaments before I was injured was 4@35.

 

It felt great to be skiing in the tournaments again instead of just driving and judging :)

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Like you (were) Roger I am on the Vapor boots (formerly RS1) and tended to tighten them down too much especially with the lower boa system on the current models. Last June 8th I was running 35 off @ 34 mph and still don't know what happened but ski tip must have dug in

and my body twisted but my ankle did not. I am LFF and suffered torn ligaments and fracture on left ankle. Had surgery June 27th and had 6 weeks of non weight bearing, followed by two months of PT. Ankle is getting stronger started playing ice hockey again, biking and riding a wakeboard without bindings. I ordered the MOB binding system to use with my Vapor boots. Was going to try and ski last weekend against my Dr's, PT's and wife

wishes. I put on the ski this weekend but ankle is still too swollen and had some discomfort in the Vapor boot with pressure on my two screws they put in. Hoping to try again in a couple of weeks. In my 62 years on this earth certainly my worst injury. Everyone told me it would be January (2019) before I was at full speed, but working hard

to prove them wrong.

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I can't imagine having a ruptured achilles and trying to come back. 3 weeks ago I was skiing the best I ever have (-28@34) and came aroudn 2 ball and crashed pretty hard. My front foot took the brunt of the fall and I immediately knew something was wrong. Searing pain all down my heel and inside of my ankle. I thought for sure my achilles was torn. Turns out, I broke my talas bone and and suffered a pretty serious sprain. I still can't walk on it 3 weeks later. Its at the end of the season so I didn't miss out on a lot of skiing. When I think about skiing I get kind of nervous and anxious. This crash has gotten into my head. I hope next Spring I won't remember it and I can ski good. So kudos to anyone who has come back from a serious injury.

I guess a question for the experts would be could I have prevented this injury with different bindings? I'm riding the HO vMax boots and I probably had them on way to tight. Would the hardshell HO Syndicate bindings or the reflex bindings made a difference? In your guys opinion, are they worth the money? I've been debating on whether they are worth it so I can prevent this from happening again...

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@owennibley you can get hurt in any binding. That said if you are going to ski a binding that relies on bungee cord for release like the vMax or Vapors you have to be sure you don't pull them too tight.

 

With the mechanical releases you need to make sure they are set properly and well maintained. The Mob is another option that may provide the most safety but you have to be willing to tinker a little or send your boots to Mike to get it set up.

 

The Tfactors are essentially a rubber boot but they aren't foolproof either. One of the skiers at our lake ruptured an achillies on them. As I said earlier people get hurt at times on different bindings.

 

When you come back start out free skiing and work your way up from there. You will get back to being comfortable again.

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@owennibley - You work your confidence back up slowly. I started back on combos (though I did try my slalom first). Skiing a few sets told me my achilles felt fine. Then, when I was able to ride my slalom, I just followed the boat a couple of passes and then started easy wake crossings until I worked back up to running passes. Since I also switched to Reflex/R-Series system, that also took some getting used to and building of confidence. I've taken two falls where I released since I got on them. One out the front where I got ahead of the ski into the wakes and one out the front where I actually hit the buoy. In both cases, I didn't even feel the release, I was just in the water without my ski. This reinforced by confidence in the new system and I ski without thinking about such things now. Last night in my 2nd set, I skied up the line to 2@35 and then got 4@35. I know my achilles is strong enough and I know that the release system works.

 

Still, as someone above pointed out, you can be injured in ANY system. This is a motion sport and we attain some pretty high speeds (some years back, Andy Mapple and Deana Mapple were measured for speed. Andy attained 57mph at 36/-39 and Deana attained 47mph at 34/-38. Combine speed with an awkward fall, and injury can happen. Thankfully, it is rare if you consider the number of passes attempted vs. the number of injuries. I started the slalom course in 1987 and average 8 sets of 6 passes/week. In all that time, I've 1) Torn a calf muscle, 2) spiral fractured a toe and 3) ruptured an achilles. Neither of the first 2 kept me from skiing for more than 3 or 4 weeks. Only the achilles kept me off the water for an extended period of time. I plan to continue skiing...

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@BraceMaker - Came around 3 ball in a tournament and got ahead of the ski into the wakes. When my feet tried to come out of the Wiley's, my middle toe on the front foot could not make the radius and fractured (I have long toes and my middle toe is longer than my big toe). I did not know it was anything more than sore until a podiatrist visit 2 years later when an x-ray revealed the break.
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Thanks for the input guys. I think I will wait til next spring to make a final decision on the bindings but I'm leaning towards the reflex right now.

 

I went to the Dr today and instead of the boot I've been wearing for 2 weeks he put me in a cast. It wasn't healing proper with just the boot. Pretty big bummer but looking forward to next season.

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