This month we are getting the 411 on one of our senior riders who has been off snow since Sochi 2014, Mercedes Nicoll. Here is what she has to say about her injuries and how she deals with them. Interview by Katie Tsuyuki
K: Mercedes, you sustained a huge injury in 2014 which has kept you out of training and competition over the last year. What happened? Was it a single injury or multiple ones which caused great concern?
M: I had a fall at the Sochi Games in practice, not everyone knows this because I did keep riding and fell in the qualifiers as well, but the fall in practice should have taken me out. I ended up suffering from a bone bruise to my right hip, loosing feeling on that side due to nerve damage, a bone bruise of my right orbital bone, and a concussion. At the time I didn't think I was a big deal, but when I got home, to Whistler, my family and friends realized that I was asking the same questions over and over, it became clear to me when I couldn't find my car in a small parking lot that I realized I was in trouble.
Check out the fall here!
K: Everyone, especially sports people like yourself, gets injured and many have a hard time dealing with it. What are you doing physically for your recovery? What are you doing mentally for your recovery?
M: I have done all that I can to get back on snow, as I said I didn't think it was as bad as it was, always thinking I'll be find a a week, next week, next month, it's a hard process. everything for me was slowed down, I had to learn how to walk and talk again.
I've worked with some great Doctors,Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, neuropsychologist, councilor, brain optimization clinic, personal trainer, and chiropractor.
I would be no where without my trainer, Matt Fisher, Osteo; Don Griffis, and Chrio, Jeff Almon. I know I can't get back on snow again without being fit. This is a huge concern of mine, as I don't want to have anything like that happen again. Some people think I crazy, but I call it drive, passion and love of sport.
K: A lot of the time people will discover new hobbies or new things about themselves while on the recovery road. Have you had any of these experiences?
M: I have, some people said to me "oh it's like being on vacation, you get to watch tv read books!" What people don't understand is that you are physically unable to do any of the above. No screen time, no phone, no computer, no TV, no reading, no nothing. Having some time on my hands and unplugging from the world was difficult but mandatory for me, that lead to me picking up my paint brushes again, it had been a while, since high school, it got me through some tough times, art therapy some would say.
This pic will take you to more of my art
K: Who or what has had the greatest impact on your progress?
M: I think my drive to get better, if I didn't have the ability to stay positive and those around me staying positive I wouldn't be where I am now. I did suffer from depression in the mist of all of this, but staying positive, keeping good people, friends, and family close has kept me going, and believing in myself.
Some of my favourite quotes in Pinterest
K: What is your advice for others who are facing injury?
M: Once you have an injury you will know that there is nothing that will stop you from getting better, I didn't really understand it when I would see people coming back from knee surgery, I was like, why are they coming back? Now I get it, it's what we do, we are athletes, we have the drive and passion to succeed, keep staying positive and look ahead, not back!
K: What does the future look like for you? On snow? Charity work? More art?
M: All of the above, I will always been on snow in some form or another, I'm looking at getting back to competing this season, only time will tell. Charity work I am so proud to support local foundations, KidSport, The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, and the Whistler Search and Rescue. As for the art, I know will take more time to unplug and pick up the paintbrush.
This picture is linked to my website, click to find out more on me