A year after an ACL injury, Katie Ormerod is back in action this weekend. She’s been working closely with our High Performance Team, led by Darren Roberts and he takes us through her journey:
Katie Ormerod is back to competition this weekend in Australia, it’s testament to all her hard work, determination and support she’s had that see’s her make her return. Katie unfortunately ruptured her ACL almost 12 months ago, an injury that put her out for the season. I knew who Katie was from her landing a double cork earlier that year (2014), a worlds first by a female – and at just 16 years old a great insight into her potential.
ACL injuries and their rehabilitation are a complex and steady process, not easy for athletes who are used to doing everything as quickly as possible. We worked closely with Katie’s governing body the BSS, and through discussions with them and Katie herself it was decided to send her to us for her rehab. Katie was going to be spending most days with us for next 6 months as we progressed her through the various stages of her reconditioning.
Having not worked with Katie before I didn’t know what to expect, however as mentioned we work very closely with the BSS and I work with John Noonan in particular, so I had a good steer from John on the sort of athlete Katie was – a professional hard worker. This was very rapidly apparent in the first few gym sessions, Katie appeared to feel no pain! Her work ethic, attention to detail and determination were first class – the diminutative snowboarder was an absolute beast in the gym!
The long re-conditioning process can be a lonely one, but we encourage all the athletes to work together even if they all have different injuries. During her time with us, Katie worked with many other athletes from other sports – she soon had a reputation for destroying other athletes in the gym and ended up being called ‘pocketrocket’. We even had to re-scale the intensity of sessions to ‘pocketrocket’ or ‘standard’ – athletes would ask how hard the session would be, and if it was ‘pocketrocket’ intense, everyone knew it would be bad!
As Katie headed towards the last part of the reconditioning, she worked increasingly with John Noonan for the return to sport phase. This also meant Katie began to work on snow again, after weeks of plyometrics in the pool, on trampettes and finally in the gym – it was time to remind her muscles they were a snowboarder. The Chill Factore were incredibly supportive by letting us use the slope before opening time, meaning Katie had the whole place to herself so we could follow a staged return to snow. These on snow sessions had steady increases in difficulty, whilst Katie worked through specific return to sport tests with John and ourselves. Things moved onto the gymnastic centre, where Katie could get some real height and start to go upside down – as a former gymnast she was really able to test herself in this environment.
Eventually at the 6 month point Katie left for Europe to take part in a number of BSS Snow camps, carving turns and riding on mountains is not the same as an indoor slope – and here she continued her return to sport with her coach Hamish. During her time with us Katie’s work ethic was an inspiration to other athletes regardless of where they were in their reconditioning phase. Despite being one of the youngest and smallest athletes, she often lead the sessions in her determination – and it’s fantastic to see such a young athlete be so determined to be the best at everything they do. Of course since she left, she has since past into myth with the other athletes – tales of the ‘pocketrocket’ sessions and the state it would leave people in the gym are passed around the other athletes and I’m sure they think it’s made up!