Can Lindsey Vonn Win Gold on a Torn ACL?

SnowBrains | | OlympicsOlympics
lindsey vonn
Lindsey Vonn ripping.

We all know how Lindsey Vonn tore her ACL last year in Austria.  She then partially tore her reconstructed ACL in November training in Colorado.  Even with this partially torn ACL Lindsey got 5th place in the Super-G at Lake Louise on December 8th, 2013.  But the questions remain:  Can she win on that torn ACL?  Can she compete at a high level in the Olympics on that torn ACL?

Lindsey doesn’t have enough time before the Olympics for another surgery so she’ll be skiing on what she’s got.  

lindsey vonn knee surgery
Lindsey Vonn shares grizzly images of her post surgery knee last spring

Orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Dr. David Geier, gives his opinions on Lindsey’s chances with her torn ACL and some quality ACL information in general:

“The ACL provides front-to-back and rotational stability to the knee.  It’s not that you can’t do activities without an ACL. A road runner or someone who lifts weights could probably do fine without an ACL. But with an unstable knee, anything that involves landing from a jump, or cutting, or pivoting, or changing direction like in skiing, you risk doing further damage.

“It takes time for the tissue to become a new ligament and become strong again.  The numbers are anything between 50 and 90 percent that you’ll be able to return to the same level of sport.”

“If you tear your ACL, there’s very little chance of getting back to elite sports without the surgery.  Just a brace and trying to treat it without surgery doesn’t typically work for very long. That knee is unstable and very often gives out again.”- Dr. Geier told Outside Magazine

lindsey vonn heli lift
Lindsey getting air lifted after her accident last year.

From what Dr. Geier says above, it’s hard to believe that Lindsey can win with a torn ACL and it sounds like she’ll need another surgery at some point soon.  Yet, we wouldn’t count her out just yet.

Lindsey is an incredible athlete.  One thing that most of us underestimate with great athletes is their mental willpower.  So much of what Lindsey does is purely mental.  If her mind is right, she is capable of anything.

acl diagram
ACL diagram

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