Date of Surgery: 4/4/2018
Update (1/2019): Hannah has returned to ski instructing full-time.
I am from England and as there is not much in the way of mountains here, I learned to ski in Europe with my family from a young age. I soon started going on school ski trips to America and Canada and my love for skiing continued to grow. At 17 I decided I would become a ski instructor and I have been lucky enough to continue this path for the last ten years.
I started my first few seasons in Canada and New Zealand. I trained and grew as an instructor and a skier, my passion for both the sport and job grew. I loved being in the mountains and surrounded by like minded people. My job and friends took me to Australia followed by Japan, I continued to develop as an instructor and as a guide; skiing, training, learning and the more I skied the more I wanted to ski. Unfortunately, I sustained my knee injury in Australia at the end of the season and was unable to get surgery there or on the NHS. I managed to continue skiing and working the following season in Niseko with no ACL and the use of a knee brace, I experienced a lot of discomfort and muscle wastage.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
During my level four exam I tore my ACL/MCL/Meniscus. I travelled to see Professor Mackay in Glasgow and received my treatment at the Mackay Clinic. Professor Mackay used my Patella Tendon as a graft and fitted an Internal Knee Brace one of the benefits of this is a reduced recovery time. I used crutches for a couple of days and didn’t experience too much pain. A week after surgery and back at home I attended physiotherapy twice weekly in order to continuously strengthen and improve my knee. I was doing my exercises several times a day and gradually built up to an hour a day on a stationary bike. Professor Mackay, the physiotherapist and I were all happy with my continuous improvement. At around 6 weeks post-surgery I was gaining more strength in my leg and had regained full extension and flexion in my knee. There was still a lot of work to do but I was on the road to recovery, now almost 8 months post-surgery I am packing my bags to head back to Japan for another season for skiing, instructing and pow.
"The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation have enabled me to get the knee surgery I needed to continue with my career and love of skiing! I tore my ACL during my level four exam and was unable to get surgery through the NHS, the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation was with me every step of the way; financially supporting me with all the costs of surgery and rehabilitation and as well as provided continuous positive encouragement. I was able to receive the best knee surgery for me, in April 2018 I was treated by Professor Mackay in Glasgow and had an Internal Knee Brace fitted which allowed me to recover quickly from the surgery and be back on my feet in no time. I am heading back to Japan at the end of November and will return to skiing and instructing in Niseko. I cannot put into words how grateful I am to the foundation for how supportive they have been through such a difficult time. I would not be in the position to continue skiing and working without their help. "
- Hannah O’Connor