Ballachey, Ramos mending scoped knees
Local U.S. Ski Team mogul experts will be spending their summer months recovering from additional knee surgeries.
Brooke Ballachey and Travis Ramos, both 19, each underwent a second round of knee repairs in recent weeks. The arthroscopic surgeries, minor compared to ligament reconstructions performed on these athletes in the past, were to remove scar tissue and increase comfort and range of motion.
Ballachey, who uses a ski team surgeon in Salt Lake City, had her operation April 15. After a week home recovering, the A-Team mogul specialist traveled to the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, New York. She planned to spend six to eight weeks focused entirely on knee rehabilitation.
From there, Brooke Ballachey explained her latest setback.
“This fall, I hurt my knee and the doctors said it’s okay, just ski on it. By the time I was in Japan (Feb. 20), it was really bugging me, which didn’t help my performance. I kept thinking that it was really no big deal, but I finally figured out that something was actually wrong.
“As it turns out, what actually happened was that between my first surgery and now, I had dislocated my knee cap. Because of the first operation, there was so much scar tissue inside my joint, that the knee cap couldn’t go back into place. And I spent the whole winter competing like that.”
The most recent “scope” for Ballachey has cured most of those problems for the young skier. Ballachey’s time at the Olympic Training Center offers her a top-notch sports medicine center and physical therapists. One of only three such complexes in the States (others are San Diego and Colorado Springs), the facilities are owned by the U.S. Olympic Committee. While free of charge, athletes are only allowed use of the OTC if they have national team status or are a former Olympic competitor.
Of her routine, Ballachey said, “Every day, after breakfast, I go to physical therapy for two hours, then I spend a couple hours in the weight room, then I go back to P.T. for another session. By then it’s late afternoon, so I relax a bit before dinner and I have Sundays off. I should be home in June, but I’m not supposed to ski until at least August. Depending on how things go here, I may go up to Blackcomb (Canada) to do a little coaching this summer.”
Ballachey finished this season – bad knee and all – ranked third in the world for dual moguls. Of next season, she said, “Im feeling pretty positive about next year. You change your attitude when you’re coming off an injury. I’d like to come back strong and do better than ever, but we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Her teammate on the freestyle squad, Travis Ramos, is going through a similar ordeal. He underwent an initial surgery to his left knee back in September, and has sat out the competition circuit this winter. On April 1, Ramos had a second operation by local surgeon, Dr. Randy Watson.
Of his surgery, Ramos said, “I was a little worried for a while. Both Dr. Watson and I thought there might still be something really wrong with my knee, because I got to a point where it wasn’t getting any better. During the scope, they found just a lot of scar tissue and debris, but the ACL graft was healed and strong. Ditto my meniscus.
“Since then I’ve just continued with my rehab, which is going better now, plus bike riding a lot and teaching spin classes for Time Out. Over the winter I had my doubts about the first surgery, but since the scope, I’ve ridden my bike harder than ever. I’ve gotten a lot more confidence regarding my knee.”
Describing his summer plans, Travis Ramos said, “The ski team is having three different camps, and I’ll go to at least one of those. I’ll probably also go back to Treble Cone, New Zealand, to coach a one-month freestyle camp. I’ve been doing that a long time for Greg Harrington, who’s a coach at Squaw.”
Of next season, Ramos explained, “I don’t want to think too much about next winter. Right now, things are up in the air. Hopefully, by next winter I’ll be one of those things up in the air!”
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