Skier Veronika Velez-Zuzulová tore her ACL 5 months before the 2018 Winter Olympics and worried she wouldn’t be able to compete until the Arthrex ACL repair procedure gave her hope.
Olympic skier Veronika Velez-Zuzulová of Slovakia was all set for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. “I really love skiing, but it’s a really hard life to be a skier,” said Veronika. “We spend many days on the snow. It’s always this part of physical training that’s really hard for me.”
While training in Argentina, Veronika injured her right ACL. With just 5 months until the 2018 Winter Olympics, she broke into tears. “I started to cry that everything was done.”
“She was devastated,” said her surgeon, Dr. Bertrand Sonnery-Cottet. Veronika thought she would miss the Olympic Games. Again.
Veronika had injured her ACL before. After placing third in slalom at the World Cup in 2012, she tore her left ACL. An Olympic medal favorite, Veronika was unable to ski in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. At the time, the only option was conservative treatment. Veronika was forced to skip the Olympic Games to focus on her recovery.
This time around, Veronika was determined not to miss the Olympics. She was concerned that conservative treatment failed before, and she was ready to try something else. She told Dr. Sonnery-Cottet that she still wanted to ski in the Olympics in South Korea, and he proposed a different treatment: an ACL repair that could give her a chance to compete.1
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Veronika was a good candidate for ACL repair. She progressed every day, and Dr. Sonnery-Cottet was impressed. “One week of recovery for her is one month for normal ACL reconstruction.”1
In 2018, her dreams came true. “I was able to participate in the Olympics. I did two World Cup races. Everything was going just perfect,” Veronika said. “I am really happy that we did that and it works and that maybe it will help others in the future.”
- Praz C, Kandhari VK, Saithna A, Sonnery-Cottet B. ACL rupture in the immediate build-up to the Olympic Games: return to elite alpine ski competition 5 months after injury and ACL repair. BMJ Case Rep. 2019;12(3):e227735. doi:10.1136/bcr-2018-227735
The presenting surgeon is a paid consultant for Arthrex Inc. For questions, please contact Arthrex Medical Education.