Jamie Anderson returns home after suffering serious injury | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Jamie Anderson returns home after suffering serious injury

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Snowboarder Jamie Anderson returned home to the South Shore on Wednesday after being seriously injured before last month’s U.S. Open at Stratton Mountain, Vt.

The 18-year-old Anderson, one of the world’s top slopestyle riders, ruptured her spleen during a crash in preparation for the final event of the Burton Open Global Series. A speed check sent Anderson hurtling forward, and the impact of the fall propelled her knees into the abdomen, causing the spleen to rupture.

Anderson was quickly transported to the hospital. Within an hour, she was being observed in the emergency room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center with an injury that is becoming all too common for snowboarders.

Internal bleeding cost Anderson three pints of blood. Doctors waited to see if Anderson’s body naturally took care of the bleeding in her abdomen before considering surgery. Several days later, the bleeding ceased and Anderson was out of danger.

“She was in a lot of pain, and we didn’t know if they would have to operate,” said Lauren Anderson, Jamie’s mother. “They don’t like to take them out now because they know how important the spleen is.”

The spleen is oval-shaped and weighs less than half a pound. The organ, which is a vital part of the human body’s immune system, helps fight infections, filters foreign substances from the blood, destroys worn-out blood cells and forms and stores blood.

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Anderson spent six days in the intensive care unit and five days resting at the home of Lauren’s parents before doctors gave her the OK to fly home. Two-thirds of Anderson’s spleen was damaged beyond repair, but doctors expect the remaining third of the organ to perform normally.

Even though she didn’t compete, Anderson wrapped up the BOGS championship and was awarded $100,000.

“It lifted her spirits when she won the Burton Global Series,” Lauren said.

The 2008-09 season has been particularly rough on Anderson. She suffered a broken pelvis during the European Open in January, an injury that prevented her from being able to defend Winter X Games title.

“She was having such a great day, so excited for the competition and to go for the Volvo,” Lauren said. “The same thing happened in Switzerland (when she broke her pelvis). I told her you have to stop going for these cars.”

Doctors have advised Anderson to recuperate for three to six months. Lauren said her daughter is aiming to return in July in New Zealand.

“She’s been humbled by it all. The tendency with youths is that you are invincible,” Lauren said.

Lauren doesn’t think the back-to-back injuries will have a long-term impact on her daughter.

“Time will tell. She is young, and she has such a good mental game,” Lauren said. “Sports are more mental than physical. It’s just believing in yourself and knowing when to back off when your body is screaming, ‘No.'”