SCHLADMING, Austria (AP/CBS4) – Vail’s Lindsey Vonn crashed during the super-G event Tuesday at the world championships in Austria and will be out for the rest of the ski season with a serious leg injury.
US ski team officials said Vonn suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee and a lateral tibial plateau (shin) fracture in the crash.
The Coloradan lost balance on her right leg while landing after a jump. Her ski came off immediately, and Vonn slid off course and hit a gate before coming to a standstill. Vonn received medical treatment on the slope for 12 minutes before was taken by helicopter to a hospital nearby after the crash.
“Vonn had posted the fastest first interval and was having a strong run when she went down. She was immediately attended to by race medical officials and transported by helicopter, as is standard protocol, to a nearby hospital,” read a statement on the U.S. Ski Team website.
CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida said it’s likely Vonn won’t be able to ski for at least seven or eight months, but a year from now she should be completely healed.
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Vonn trailed race leader Tina Maze of Slovenia by 0.12 seconds shortly before the crash.
The race, which was postponed for 3 1/2 hours because of fog, restarted after a 15-minute delay. There are still questions on if the race should have even taken place at all.
“The conditions on the course were difficult,” said Kelley McMillan, New York Times freelance reporter.
McMillan was in Austria covering the World Championships when the crash happened.
“Some spectators and coaches questioned a bit whether the races should have been held at all,” McMillan said.
Vail Summit orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Cunningham works with the women’s U.S. Ski Team.
“Valgus stress, we call it, where her knee came into a kind of knock-kneed alignment suddenly. And that probably tore her MCL, the center ligament, and subsequently tore her ACL,” Cunningham said. “And then the femur impacts the tibia and kind of has a little impact crush injury in the back of the tibia. So the fracture component is the smaller component of the overall injury.”
Cunningham said Vonn will have surgery and likely be out of the hospital immediately. He said range of motion and aggressive therapy begins right away.
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