Fraser is an active 32-year-old who spends a lot of time climbing up mountains and going down them in various different ways. Both of these activities require a strong pair of knees. So he was devastated to hear in May 2015 that he had ruptured his ACL following a skiing accident.
He was told that he should have a full ACL reconstruction surgery – the standard procedure worldwide to fix a ruptured ACL. If he went down this route then he could forget skiing/snowboarding for at least a year, maybe even longer. The rehabilitation after his accident would be long, requiring his full commitment.
He was put in touch with Adrian Wilson by chance. He sent his MRI scans through to Adrian and was surprised when he said he could actually repair the ruptured ACL instead of creating a new one. Adrian could see that the tissue left over was in good enough shape to be repaired. He thought that Fraser could be back to normal activities within 3-4 months after the operation.
What Adrian would essentially do was stitch up the torn ACL, create an internal brace made out of kevlar and use some clever drilling to support the repaired ligament until it was healed.
Fraser had his surgery in early July. The first few days after the surgery were obviously quite difficult while the knee recovered from the trauma of the surgery. After three days of resting he began the exercises to get the range of movement back in his knee. Fraser explains how he recovered really quickly:
“I got rid of the crutches within about five days, was driving within two weeks and was in the gym cycling and doing light jogging within three weeks. By month two I was performing a relatively normal workout in the gym, only that I was not really using weights. In month three I restarted Crossfit. I was surprised to see that I could actually support and lift heavy weights and the bits of twisting I did hadn’t given me any problems.
My first real return to old activities was 10 weeks after the procedure. I did a 20km hike, climbing up 1300m and back over about 6-7 hours. My knee was actually better than before. I continued hiking throughout the Autumn, eagerly waiting to get back on a snowboard.
Had snow arrived earlier in the winter, I would’ve returned to skiing earlier. But when I did finally get back on the snow in December, I was amazed at how normal it felt, considering what had happened. Psychologically, the knee felt weird the first day skiing, but after a while I had completely forgotten about it.
I was skinning up and down mountains in the backcountry on day one, buttering around the slopes on day two, hitting the kickers and jumps in the terrain park on day three, and on cloud nine by day four.
If it weren’t for this surgery I wouldn’t even have a season of skiing ahead of me. Now, I’ve even managed to get the season going ahead of when I normally would.
If the conditions are right for you to undergo the ACL repair, it really is a no-brainer. Go for it and don’t look back.”