Lindsey Vonn Airlifted to Hospital After Accident in Super-G at Worlds [Video]

A little over a year from the start of the 2014 Winter Games, American Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn faces reconstructive surgery after injuring her right knee in a nasty fall in a Super-G race in the world Alpine championship in Schladming, Austria.

The Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, whose record-breaking ski racing career has frequently mixed stirring triumph with frightening spills, tore two knee ligaments in a tumbling crash Tuesday.

The star American skier was on the ground with two torn ligaments in her right knee and a broken bone in her lower leg, writes the Huff Post.

The cascading fall down the slope during the super-G at the world championships Tuesday knocked out the four-time World Cup champion for the rest of the season, the latest and most serious in a string of injuries for Vonn at skiing’s biggest events.

The injuries are expected to require surgery as well as a lengthy rehabilitation and could jeopardize Vonn’s 2014 Olympic bid in Sochi, Russia.

“According to U.S. Ski Team medical director Kyle Wilkens, Vonn suffered a torn [anterior cruciate ligament] and [medial collateral ligament] in her right knee and a lateral tibial plateau fracture,” the team said in a statement.

“She will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”

Vonn, the defending Olympic downhill gold medalist and winner of four World Cup overall titles, crashed when her knee gave way gruesomely as she landed after a jump.

Lindsey had led through the first timed stage of the event, but trailed Tina Maze, the eventual winner, by .12 of a second when she began the run on which she crashed, reports the Washington Post.

On the television feed, it was clearly heard how Lindsey Vonn screamed as she landed, then desperately cried “Yes, yes,” when someone asked, “Are you hurt?”

Race leader and eventual champion Tina Maze watched with her mouth agape. The concern also was obvious on the face of Vonn’s sister, Laura Kildow, who has been traveling with her full time this season.

Well actually the athlete has had a history of crashes and injuries over her career. Last fall, an intestinal ailment forced her to be hospitalized and she returned to competition last month.

After she crashed today, she was treated on the course for about 12 minutes, then airlifted to a hospital by helicopter.

Vonn’s father, Alan Kildow, spoke with her by phone and said that she’s, “mad at the way things turned out.” His daughter told him that she landed in a clump of sugar snow, or ice crystals, that caused her to fall forward, he said.

Kildow said that surgery could take place as soon as this weekend, likely at the Steadman Clinic, in Vail, Colo. Recovery time varies, according to Dr. Tom Hackett, an orthopedic surgeon at the clinic and the team physician for the U.S. snowboard squad.

Dr. Hackett seemed optimistic about Vonn’s Olympic prospects, as the NY Times reports.

“There’s a very good chance she could return at full force,” said Hackett, who is a team physician with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association but who was not briefed on the precise details of Vonn’s injury or her treatment.

“Typically, the A.C.L. alone will keep her out six to eight months, at least at the high, intense level of skiing she’s used to. The M.C.L. can often heal on its own. And a fracture with an A.C.L. is commonly a minor component.

“Each case has variables, and they will likely take more tests before there is a real treatment plan. But we’ve had a lot of skiers and snowboarders come back in a year and do very well.”

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