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From Horrible Accident to Racing Again

23 Jun 2021
by Leah Kadetz

I have been racing triathlons for 10 years. I’ve had my share of injuries like most people, a hamstring strain, a foot injury, or something else that has made me miss a few races here and there. 

In December of 2019 I was skiing in Utah. It was our fifth day there. I was at the top of the mountain about to ski down and all of a sudden someone ran over me and my skis. I immediately fell on the ground and heard the loudest pop I have ever heard in my entire life. Even though I’ve never torn my ACL before, it’s an unforgettable loud pop and I immediately knew it was torn. 

My left shoulder broke my fall and at the time, my shoulder hurt worse than my knee but I was more worried about me not being able to walk. 

I was carried down the mountain in a toboggan by ski patrol to the hospital. We left Utah a day early and as soon as I arrived in Atlanta I had an MRI on my knee. 

I tore my Right ACL, meniscus, and sprained my MCL. I scheduled knee surgery for January 2020. At the time I had many people telling me recovery is going to be at least 6 to 9 months, if not one full year before I could run. I took recovery one day at a time but like most athletes the words of someone telling you “you can’t” makes you want to prove them wrong. I love challenges!!

12 weeks from my knee surgery I was running 5 miles!! I was super happy on the recovery on my knee and how fast I healed. But the pain in shoulder was unbearable. 

About a week before my knee surgery, I had an MRI on my left shoulder, the one that broke my fall. I had torn my rotator cuff and at the time my doctor told me to rehab it and was hopeful I wouldn’t need surgery.

As time went on I was in the worst pain of my life. I couldn’t sleep and that’s all I thought about every minute of the day. I was miserable. 

In May of 2020 I had rotator cuff surgery. It was extremely painful and recovery was really slow but again I took it one day at a time just hoping to not be in pain anymore. The recovery was around 8-9 months. But it was worth it and I’m pain free. 

These two surgeries were the only surgeries I’ve had in my life for an injury. But I didn’t let it get me down. I continued to workout and I just stayed focused on exercises that I was able too vs what I couldn’t do. 

On June 5th 2021, I raced Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon. It was my first race since September of 2019 before my accident. I placed second in my age group. I was really happy. And it feels really awesome to be racing again. 

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