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McKennis healing from injury in Colorado

6:31 PM, Mar 16, 2013   |    comments
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VAIL- Back home in Colorado spending her days sitting in her doctor's house isn't exactly how Alice McKennis thought her ski racing season would end.

"I pictured it much differently," McKennis said.

Growing up on a ranch near Glenwood Springs learning to ride horses and race fast McKennis knows things don't always go as planned. But one look at her leg and the 13-inch scar its clear this season didn't go as planned.

"Injuries you never expect them to happen and they just do," McKennis said.

Things had been going very well for McKennis. She won her first downhill world cup gold and finished 10th in the world downhill standings. Then about two weeks ago, while laying down a blistering 70 mile an hour run, McKennis lost control and crashed, shattering her right leg.

"It happened really fast. My body position was a little inside and I broke my leg. Dr. Sterett had to put in a plate and 11 screws just to hold it all together and then 35 staples added on top," McKennis said.

For McKennis, it's the second time she's broken a leg racing, having just healed from fracturing her left leg in 2011.

"I had my doubts at first at the hospital thinking do I have to go through this again how could this happen to me again," McKennis said.

While McKennis struggled with doubts back home Vail Summit, Orthopedics surgeon Doctor William Sterett had a different point of view.

"She's done it before and I have no doubt she's determined to do it again and I think she will," Sterett said.

After all, he's the guy who fixed Lindsey Vonn's leg, works on other ski racers and went to work on McKennis, not an easy job with bone blown apart, broken in 30 pieces.

Then as he has done before with other athletes, the head doctor for the U.S. Ski Team put McKennis up at his house for a few days of recovery.

"Try to get fixed and recovery," Sterett said. 

It's a nice place, but one McKennis is determined to leave focused on still racing in the 2014 Olympics - and winning - knowing as any Colorado ranch girl does, if a horse throws you all you can do is get back up. 

"Sometimes you fall off but you have to get back up there and keep on going," McKennis said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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