USA skier Lind­sey Vonn to take ‘lot of risk’ with bro­ken arm

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Lind­sey Vonn is tak­ing "a lot of risk of do­ing more dam­age" to her right arm when she re­turns to World Cup ski­ing this week­end, nine weeks af­ter break­ing her right up­per arm.

Surgery has made the arm more vul­ner­a­ble to an­other frac­ture if she has to break a fall, the four-time over­all cham­pion said yes­ter­day.

"For the rest of my ca­reer there will def­i­nitely be a lot of risk," Vonn said. "The plate is sta­ble but ob­vi­ously above the plate my arm is sus­cep­ti­ble to an­other frac­ture. As I have al­ready a plate in there, it be­comes a very com­pli­cated surgery if I were to do that."

Vonn would have to fly back im­me­di­ately to the clinic in Vail, Colorado, where she un­der­went surgery in Novem­ber, in case it hap­pens.

"They have to be ei­ther tak­ing out the plate and do an­other plate, or two plates on top of each other," the Amer­i­can said. "That is a very com­pli­cated surgery."

Vonn suf­fered the in­jury in a train­ing crash on Cop­per Moun­tain, Colorado, while re­cov­er­ing from a left knee in­jury that ended her last sea­son pre­ma­turely in Fe­bru­ary.

Late Wed­nes­day, Vonn re­vealed she strug­gled with nerve dam­age so se­vere she couldn’t even move her fin­gers soon af­ter the surgery in Novem­ber. She posted a 5 1/2-minute video on her Face­book page which showed glimpses of her nine-week re­hab. The video had more than one mil­lion views the fol­low­ing day.

Vonn said yes­ter­day she was "very scared" whether she would be able to use her hand in a nor­mal way again. Two months later, she was still ham­pered in daily life by its re­duced mo­bil­ity, but was able to hold her ski pole as "the grip is strong."

In races, she was not plan­ning to wear spe­cial pro­tec­tion ex­cept for dou­ble paddings un­der her race suit.

A record 76-time win­ner, Vonn’s re­turn was post­poned for a day af­ter down­hill train­ing was can­celed yes­ter­day be­cause of bad weather. The fi­nal train­ing was sched­uled for Fri­day, though more snow­fall was fore­cast.

Asked about her goals, Vonn said she be­lieved she could still win the down­hill and su­per-G ti­tle de­spite miss­ing half of the sea­son.

"I re­ally look at it with the per­spec­tive of last year," she said. "I won the down­hill ti­tle and I didn’t fin­ish in two races and I missed one. There are three (down­hill) races I missed so far this sea­son and only two su­per-G races. I def­i­nitely think it’s pos­si­ble.

"It de­pends how Ilka (Stuhec) and Lara (Gut) do, but if I can con­sis­tently be fast, then I have a good chance."

The knee frac­tures and bro­ken arm were the lat­est set­backs in a ca­reer that has been marred by in­juries. Var­i­ous in­juries forced her out of the world cham­pi­onships in 2007, ‘11 and ‘13, and she missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Still, Vonn said she would com­pete as long as ski rac­ing brings her joy.

"To me ski rac­ing is like air: I need it, the adrenalin, the speed," she said. "I love it more than any­thing else."

Lind­sey is tak­ing a risk by com­pet­ing Pho­to­graph: AP

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