USST's Kirsten Clark expects to be back on the slopes next winter


USST’s Kirsten Clark expects to be back on the slopes next winterKirsten Clark, recovering from her first serious injury in her 10 seasons with the U.S. Ski Team, says she expects to be healed and back on the slopes next winter.

The 27-year-old skier from Raymond, Maine, broke her wrist and tore up her knees when she fell after a jump in a World Cup downhill race in Haus, Austria, on January 30.

Prior to the crash, Clark was ranked 10th in the overall World Cup standings and had a chance to finish in the top three.

Now recuperating at her home in Lake Tahoe, Calif., she was upbeat about her prospects for the season ahead.

“I’ll heal and be back next winter,” Clark told the Portland, Maine, Press Herald. “It’s a bummer. It’s going to take time. But I’ve seen a lot of athletes with similar injuries have surgery and be able to come back and compete and be full form.”

Clark broke her wrist, sprained her right knee, and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.

“When I landed I caught an edge, did the splits and went into the fence,” she said. “That’s where my injury occurred, I think. I knew my wrist was injured, I looked down and could see it displaced. The knee, I wasn’t sure about. But I knew it wasn’t right.”

Clark had surgery on her wrist in Austria, where doctors put in a plate and three pins to stabilize the joint. The good news, Clark said, is the break was in her radius and ulna, above the wrist joint — and doctors believe she will recover fully.

The ACL tear will require the longest recovery time. “Six months is what they say for ACL,” said Clark. “I’m not exactly sure how long to get back on snow because I have never done it before. I want to be strong and feeling confident before I go out. I don’t want to push it.”

Clark’s parents, George and Joan Clark, were visiting Clark in Austria when the crash occurred. They witnessed her crash on a large television screen from the bottom of the trail.

“It was an ugly fall to witness on the big screen,” said Joan Clark. “She was pretty bummed at first. But you’ve got to accept it. It is what it is. She’ll get through it. She’ll deal. It’ll be a little confining.”

The injury is the first serious one Clark has suffered in her skiing career. “Ten years on the ski team and never hurt,” said Joan Clark. “That’s almost unheard of. The law of averages caught up with her.”

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