Date of Surgery: 7/5/2016
Clavicle Fracture (Emergency Surgery)
Update (7/2017): Elijah returned to coaching and instructing last winter.
I grew up in a small town out of southern Vermont. My elementary school would take its students to the mountain every Friday during the winter season. I became involved in snowboarding in the 3rd grade where I both skied and snowboarded. The next year my school offered a snowboard program so I switched to snowboarding full time. I have been snowboarding every year since then and was actually able to pursue half-pipe riding professionally with 2 of my siblings all of us finding our way to ride for the US Snowboard Team for some years together. I hung up my pursuit of the Olympics and professional riding after just missing the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
When I was a professional half-pipe snowboarder I would always go and work at summer camps where I found a love for coaching and instructing. Even with fellow competitors and friends, I would always give advice out to them during my professional snowboard career. After the 2010 Olympic pursuit, I switched gears to coaching/instructing full-time and began with my sister Hannah who is an Olympic gold and silver medalist in half-pipe. In search of broadening my coaching/instructing experience, I then took a job at Snowboard Club Vail and moved with my wife to Colorado. I worked every facet of coaching and instructing for 3 years there. The last year, I coached/instructed an underdog in women’s half-pipe, Kaitlyn Farrington to an Olympic gold in Sochi, as well as, a young Japanese rider Ayumu Hirano to an Olympic silver in half-pipe. It’s been an amazing road and I am so fortunate to have the loving support of my wife Rosibel who has always been there to push me to greater and bigger things. Since then, I have helped create a not for profit called Method 4 Life Snowboard Academy which provides snowboard instruction and coaching, as well as, we look to help lower income families and deserving athletes with scholarships. It’s a lot of work but if we can create funds to help give scholarships to these athletes and families that need them, then I will be so happy to be part of a snowboard board group that gives back to something that we love so much.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
I had to undergo an emergency surgery on my right clavicle after shattering it into 5 pieces in a snowboard crash while riding at Mount Hood, Oregon. I sent my x-ray images to The Steadman Clinic and the surgeon advised me to fly to Colorado and have surgery immediately. I had surgery right away on July 5, 2016 and had a plate with 12 screws placed on my clavicle to help it heal properly. With how severe the break was, the surgeon did not put me on a rehabilitation plan for the first few months and I could only perform simple movements and exercises. Since I broke my collarbone on day 3 of a month long snowboard camp, having an expedited surgery allowed me to return to Mount Hood and finish my coaching commitment right away. I was so grateful to finish my commitment to my athletes so soon after surgery.
"The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation is such a wonderful group who is in it for the right reasons. My health insurance was only going to cover a small portion of the surgery. Since it was an emergency surgery, I was not able to get pre-approval from the foundation. However, I worked with foundation staff through every step of the application process after surgery. At the end of the application process, hearing that I was approved was just beyond words. The surgery enabled me to return to coaching/instructing immediately. The foundation helped me with the financial burden it was going to put on me and the not for profit snowboard academy that I was helping create. Without the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, the financial burden would have been heavy and hard to overcome whereas, with their support I was reassured and supported every step of the way. This foundation is a wonderful group and I am eternally grateful to them for my strong return into the coaching and instructing world!!!"
- Elijah Teter