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Jessica Knowles

Date of Surgery: 3/30/2018
Update (2/2019): Jessica has returned to ski patrol full time.

About Jessica

I grew up surfing and camping with my family so I caught the outdoor bug pretty early. My Mom started skiing as an adult and put me in ski school as a kid. After college, I took a job as a tour guide and began my outdoor career. I am now an avid climber, skier, surfer, traveler and hiker.

Career Background

After leading a surf camp in Costa Rica with a bunch of teenagers, one of the other guides convinced me to spend a winter at Beaver Creek Colorado. I was teaching outdoor education in Texas and my job ended in November so I move to Colorado “for a winter.” After 4 years working retail, rafting, landscaping and trail crew lead, I decided to try out for patrol and was hired. I am now in my 3rd year with Beaver Creek Ski Patrol.

Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan

I had a tibial tubercle osteotomy to realign my patella and stop the wearing of my cartilage through improper tracking. They cut into my tibia where it meets my patella tendon and scooted it over and screwed it back in. I spent 6 weeks in a straight brace watching my quad atrophy. Then another 6 weeks weight bearing but only to 90 degrees. After 12 weeks, my physical therapist focused on strengthening all the muscles without injuring the tendons and ligaments through the process. I am now patrolling full time again without restrictions less than 10 months after surgery.


"After going to physical therapy, the majority of my second season patrolling, surgery became my only option to prevent further cartilage damage behind my patella. I had worn the cartilage behind my patella down to nothing. One of my co-workers, who had received help from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, told me to apply and I am very thankful he did. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has been absolutely amazing; instead of stressing over the financial burden of surgery, I could focus on recovery and strength. I had a tibial tubercle osteotomy on March 30th, 2018 with 6 weeks in a straight brace and another 6 weeks of limited mobility while the bone healed. I watched my leg shrivel to nothing and become my “chicken leg”. With the help of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I was able to go to PT as many times as was helpful without worrying about co-pays and number of yearly visits. There were no restrictions and my focus was solely on recovery and getting back to work this winter. I am a little over 9 months from surgery and am back to working full time with no restrictions. I could not have recovered as quickly without the financial assistance and the focus that allowed me to have on recovery. I cannot thank the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation enough for their support and have and will tell everyone about it!"

- Jessica Knowles