Abby, who are you?
My name is Abby Zsarnay. I am a girl skateboarder and I have been skating since I was 7 years old. I started to compete in competitions when I was 12 years old. I mainly like to skate Bowls, Whole Park, Vert and Mini Ramps.
Tell me about the last contest you skated.
The last contest I skated in was the first 2 events in the Oregon TriFecta World Cup Bowl Pro/Am. I skated in the events at Lincoln City and West Linn. I was practicing for the third event at Tigard right after the West Linn contest. While I was warming up, I went for a grind in the bowl and messed up. So I jumped off and when I landed, I blew out my knee. I wasn’t able to compete in the third contest.
Tell me more about this injury.
In October of 2009, I was practicing for a street contest for the next weekend. I was doing a Back Side Feeble Grind on a flat rail. I didn’t land on the rail right, so as I came off of the rail, I Hyper-Extended my right knee. (I’m Goofy footed.) At the time, I did not realize how bad I had injured my knee. I just knew that it was worse than I had ever hurt it before and that it swelled up really big, really fast. After three days, the swelling had not gone done at all so I went to get an MRI. The MRI showed that I had ruptured my ACL. It was not completely torn, so the Dr. said that it might heal if I didn’t skate for a few months and if I had Physical Therapy to strengthen it. So I didn’t skate for three months and I worked on strengthening and helping my knee heal. After the three months. my knee seemed to be doing pretty good, so I was released back to skating. I took it slow at first, but after a few times of skating, I found out that my knee was not completely healed as I proceeded to hurt it again. I took a few more weeks off of skating to try to let it heal some more. But as I returned, I ended up tweaking it another time and many more times after that. So as I hurt it, I would take a week or so off, then try back again. This went on for another four months or so. But then it started happening less and less often and I got to the point that I had not hurt it in few months when it came to the 2010 Oregon TriFecta World Cup. When I fell and hurt it at Tigard, I had completely torn my ACL all the way through and had also torn part of my Meniscus. I ended up having surgery on my knee on September 8th of 2010. My ACL was replaced with a cadaver and about 30% of my Meniscus on both sides were trimmed off because it was unrepairable.
Have you learned about what makes us females so prone to knee injuries?
Our hips are wider and are not as strong as the guys. This causes us to land with our knees inward which causes knee damage. Also when we land, we tend to land standing up while the guys crouch down more, which helps them save their knees.
Now how long have you been dealing with this injury?
The initial injury was in October of 2009 and I have been trying to come back from it ever since.
What made you decide to have surgery?
At that point, I didn’t have a choice. It was completely necessary because my ACL was gone. My body had almost completely reabsorbed it and there was hardly anything left of it.
Can you tell me a bit about the surgery, what did they do in there?
Dr. Loren, my Surgeon from Core Orthopaedics in Encinitas, CA cleaned out what was left of the ACL. Then he drilled holes into my two bones above and below my knee. With those holes, they anchored the cadaver ACL into place. Then they trimmed off the damaged parts of the Meniscus.
What was the experience like from your memory?
All I can remember from the day of the surgery was going into the hospital and checking in. Then we drew a big X on my right knee and went into the room to get prepped for surgery. Then they set me up with the IV and I can barely remember the doctor coming in to check on me before the surgery. Then the next thing I remember was waking up and being super tired from the anesthesia a few hours later. After I woke up, we talked to the surgeon and he said that the surgery went as planned and that all was good to go. Then we headed straight to the hotel room where I stayed for the next week before we had the post-op appointment.
Now that is behind you, what’s the plan now?
Now I am working on recovering and strengthening my knee. I do Physical Therapy 3 times a week. I plan to be back on my board after the beginning of 2011.
What has all this taught you?
I have learned that our bodies are the most important thing to us while we skate. It is all we have and without it being healthy and strong, it can lead to trouble in the future.
And after all that, why do you still love to skateboard?
I still love to skateboard because I have accepted that this is just what happens when we skate. To be a real skater, you have to be able to get hurt and still come back to it no matter what.