Above: Mad Rock Ambassador, Kailey Kermath
On any ordinary day in Breckenridge, Colorado I will typically wake up to fresh snowfall. In that moment, I had the choice to go out skiing or to go bouldering. That particular day, I chose to boulder. When I arrived at the gym, I followed my routine as follows; beginning with my warm up and stretching to ensuring I have all of my proper equipment for the day. Once I am confident in myself and my tools, I began my boulder “around the world” and hangboard.
After I completed all of my essentials, my friends and I decided we would play add on. In that moment of add on, we completed a move which was an inverted dyno not only was one of my favorite types of climbing/bouldering but also the cause of my fall. I slipped off the chalky hold 10 feet up in the air. Once I hit the ground I heard the loudest, most disturbing crunch in my ankle. Instantly, after I landed I began screaming in pain, thinking “this isn’t real, this can’t happen to me.”
With all my friends surrounding me, not knowing what to do, other than to call 911, medics were on their way in no time. Once I arrived to the Emergency Room, the doctors ordered x-rays and with no time, I was pleased yet surprised to hear no broken bones. After I was discharged, I thankfully went home to rest. As more time went on throughout the night, the swelling got puffier and the pain became heavier. Furthermore, after getting no sleep, I chose to get a second opinion from other doctors to tell me the same thing. A week went by and the pain and swelling had not gotten any better, so my family decided to fly me home to have University of Michigan Medicine look at it. After 3 hospitals, 6 doctors, a month and a half with no answers, 5 x-rays, MRI, and a CT scan the doctors finally disclosed to me that I had 4 breaks and 3 torn ligaments.
Once the doctors identified the problem, I knew I had a long road of recovery. From being told nothing is wrong with you, that “it’s a minor injury”, to needing surgery, and won’t be able to walk for another two months caused me to be an emotional roller coaster. My two biggest passions have been skiing, and rock climbing. With an accident like this, I was certain knowing I would be done for the season; thankfully throughout this whole incident I have had an extraordinary support group.
For anyone who is or has been injured and out for multiple months, it will get better. The best thing I can say to anyone, is workout. Get those endorphins released. I have been going to the gym religiously to keep my upper body strong. Whether it’s lifting weights or climbing. With being in a cast, non-weight bearing, I have learned that shouldn’t stop anyone from their dreams of becoming a stronger climber, or whatever your dream may be. As for myself recently, I climb on one leg, sometimes I challenge myself to only using my upper body. Getting out of the house, and breaking a sweat has helped me tremendously. After all, surgery was this past week January 18th, 2019 and I already have plans to go climbing with the Mad Rock team, as well as my friends in Breckenridge. It’s been a drawn out process with lots of emotion but in the end, it will make me a stronger person, mentally and physically.