Posted on January 15, 2014

The ONS Women’s Sports Medicine Center team of experts consists of current and former athletes and fitness enthusiasts who know firsthand what it takes to train and excel in a sport. With the 2014 Olympics just a few weeks away, ONS orthopedic surgeon and women’s sports medicine specialist, Katie Vadasdi, MD, shared her expert opinion on one of the latest setbacks in Olympic history.


In recent news, US skiing champion, and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn stated that she would be pulling out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia. The famed downhill skier experienced a series of knee injuries which led to her decision not compete.  When asked about Lindsey’s decision, Dr. Vadasdi said, “Vonn has made an appropriate but difficult decision to pull out of the winter Olympics this year in order to give her knee the medical attention it requires.  Her sport requires an incredible amount of strength and having an unstable knee puts her in a dangerous position where she might further injure her knee or cause other injuries.”

Last February, Lindsey tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in the same leg during an intense crash at the world championships. Upon returning to the sport, Vonn reinjured her surgically repaired ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) when she crashed during a training session. Two weeks later, Lindsey suffered another injury when she sprained her MCL (medial collateral ligament), during a downhill event. After reconstructive knee surgery in February 2013, Vonn posted on Facebook that she “is devastated” to miss the Olympics, “but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.”

Each year, at least 1 in 3,000 Americans between the ages of 14 and 55 tear an ACL while exercising or playing sports.  Skiers are among the group of athletes who are more likely to experience an ACL injury. Dr. Vadasdi said of Vonn’s injury, “she will undergo ACL reconstruction which will provide her knee the stability it requires to return to such highly-competitive skiing.” A reconstructed ACL not only stabilizes the knee, but also prevents damage to the menisci cartilage that often occurs due to an unstable joint.

“By making the decision now to withdraw from the Olympics and to undergo the surgery, she will allow herself the necessary time to recover and fully rehab her knee to get her back on the slopes safely and at her height competitive level.”

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Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists, PC (ONS) physicians provide expertise in the full spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, sports medicine, minimally invasive orthopedic, spine and brain surgery, joint replacement and trauma. The main office is located at 6 Greenwich Office Park on Valley Road, Greenwich, CT. For more information, visit or call 203.869.1145.