4 years ago today I broke my back.
I had fractured 2 vertebrae, T11 and L1, and was sent off to Hospital a day later. I did this doing the thing I love!!! Snow boarding!
A week in hospital, 10 weeks in a back brace and 3-6 months of Physio, personal trainers and pilates.
Emma with broken back in October 2009
4 years on and I am fit, healthy and strong. I have just spent a weekend at the snow with Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA) helping people with acquired Spinal chord injuries. These people through various accidents unfortunately have had a permanent injury. However, they are out there, giving things a go and had an amazing weekend skiing with us at Falls Creek! These guys are amazing and give me so much hope and faith that if worst came to worst, you can still do what you want – you just have to adapt!
I’ve also climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, Trekked for 4 days to Machu Picchu, travel to 15 or more countries and started a blog, Twitter account and my business Lovelly Communications. A life changing an event can give you a kick in the butt to live life to the max and really teach you, you can do anything!
Here I am, enjoying my happiness, the snow!
- Emma at Falls Creek with DWA September 2013
This is one of our incredible DWA participants – he was guided in the Mountain Man/ Bi ski for his first ever time on snow and was calling turns on his own! It was amazing to see and he we had so much fun all together! These guys are awesome! I’m loving volunteering with this amazing organisation and have learnt so much!
Guiding with DWA
See more details of my injury. in the Press Release below (Written by Emma Lovell (Me) when on painkillers in a hospital bed:
IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05 September 2009
THREBO RENAMED: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Sydney, NSW: Miss Emma Lovell of Sydney, NSW, has broken her back during a snowboarding accident on Thursday, 03 September 2009 at Thredbo Resort in the Australian Snowy Mountains.
Lovell was competing in the 2009 Australian University Snow Sports Competition held at Thredbo when she had the accident. Lovell was competing for the University of Technology of Sydney Team and this was to be her final event. Lovell was practicing on the high noon run for the slope style competition when she fell on the hard and compacted snow and injured herself.
“I didn’t feel that well that day, but I wanted to compete for my team” Said Lovell. “I told myself to “man up” and attempted a jump which was most difficult, and I literally fell short.”
Miss Lovell hit the jump at a good pace but buckled in the air and landed in an upright seated position. She instantly knew she had done severe damage. Lovell screamed until she was approached by a fellow competitor with her primary fear being someone else coming over the jump and landing on her. The course was closed and Lovell was attended to by Ski patrol.
After being carried down the hill in the banana boat and on a back support, Lovell was taken to the medical centre for x-rays. She was informed that there were 2 probable fractures in her vertebrae and she was one of 40-50 a season who break their back at the Thredbo resort alone each year.
Lovell was allowed to walk out of the clinic and given the advice of minimal movement and strong pain killers with a Cat scan upon her return to Sydney.
After a Cat Scan in Sydney’s St George Hospital it was confirmed that Lovell has a fractured L1 and T11 vertebrae. The injuries are of no risk to her spine, however neurologists at the Hospital have suggested the utmost care be taken in her road to recovery. Miss Lovell will remain in St George Hospital until she is fitted with a back brace on Monday.
The Thredbo Medical Clinic’s advice has been found to be somewhat relaxed and inappropriate for the degree of Miss Lovell’s injuries.
After more than 6 hours in the car, Lovell was met by her mother and taken to her local GP.
“Miss Lovell should never have been allowed to walk after her accident. An ambulance should have been called and the Cat scan done immediately. Her injuries concern me greatly and I am very unhappy withThredbo Medical Center’s lackadaisical approach to the situation” Stated Dr Brookes, Miss Lovell’s family GP.
“I’ve been pretty frightened and the flashbacks of the accident really scare me. I just know that I am a very lucky girl as my injuries could have been far worse.” Says Lovell reflectively.
The Slope Style course for the Australian Snow Sports Competition event appears to have been dangerous and of a high level of difficulty as Miss Lovell was not the only one to injure herself that morning. Fellow UTS team member, Andy Cholinski, shattered and dislocated his elbow only minutes after Lovell’s fall, causing a line up for the students to get into the medical centre. Just one hour later, another UTS female snowboarder, Kate Versey, came off a jump badly and has also broken her back, including three fractured vertebrae.
UTS race managers raised the point at the end of games meeting, stating that these accidents should not have happened and that the conditions were unfavorable for a University level competition.
Lovell is thankful for the support of her University, family and friends and is just hoping to have some company during her hospital visit.
Even after such an ordeal, Lovell hasn’t been deterred from the extreme sport she loves “ At least now I have time to plan next year’s trip to New Zealand! I love Snowboarding and there is no way this experience will hold me back.”
For further information contact Emma Lovell on mobile or email.
Media contact: Emma Lovell