Susanne Riesch: "My goal is to race again in November."
Susanne Riesch took the time to answer some questions from Skiweltcup.TV between a mini-vacation in Italy and a six-week commission at her German military base, speaking about her health, rehab program, true friendships and the coming season. Original article here.
Your coaches said that you were in a great shape on your training camp in September 2011. Then the bad crash in which you sustained a fracture of the left tibia, rupture of the ACL and injury to your meniscus. How are you doing today?
Susanne Riesch: "I am in any case on my way to recovery and everything is going according to the plan. There is not much experience with these types of injuries. After an ACL tear you can typically return to snow after about six months. In my case I have to see week after week how it develops. But I am doing well considering the situation and I have no pain any more, only it will likely take some more time before I can ski again. I have no exact time plan when I will return to snow. Sometime around end of May, early June."
You are known as a very ambitious athlete. How did this injury change the person respectively the athlete Susanne Riesch?
Susanne Riesch: "I cannot really say whether there has been a change. We can probably tell when I am back on skis and can see if I am still ready to take risks and how long I need to overcome that. In everyday life I have become a bit more careful. When I ride a bike I take it easy on a steep downhill or on uneven terrain. But that might also depend on the fact that the knee is not yet back to 100%."
Are you patient or does someone need to slow you down during rehab all the time?
Susanne Riesch: "I think I am right in the middle although I probably overdid it in the begnning and the knee then reacted to that. That’s when I realized I need to take it a bit easier. In the meantime I have a good touch on what works and what not. When it comes to it, I drop down a gear or two."
You never completely lost contact with the ski world despite your injury. You were often seen on site. Does it help your motivation for rehab to visit some events?
Susanne Riesch: "Yes. The first race I visite was just before New Year’s in Lienz. I like to be on site. In the beginning it did not bother me to watch the races on TV. That’s when my knee was still so bad that I could only lay on the couch and not even imagine skiing down anywhere. Towards the end of the season, especially in Schladming where it was so nice weatherwise, it was no longer so fun to be a spectator. Now I am happy that the season is over and I can be there again from the start of the new season."
Your good friends Kathrin Hölzl and Gina Stechert also missed the season due to injury or illness. Did you keep in contact with them?
Susanne Riesch: "Yes we remained in constant contact. Kati was the first one after my family to visit me in the hospital in Murnau. Gina was my roommate in Chile. I injured myself in the beginning of the camp, Gina at the end. It was tough to hear about her injury. We kept in contact from our respective hospitals and during rehab. I’ve visited Gina often in Allgäu and we went ski touring together. Kati is a very good friend and we call each other many times a week. But we have always done that."
You had a mini-vacation in Italy over Easter. From 16th April you will spend six weeks with the military. How was the holiday and will you be able to train the six weeks coming up?
Susanne Riesch: "The weather in Italy could have been better as we also got some rain. But it was good for me to have a few days without a strict training program. That week I had no plan. I brough my mountain bike for some riding for fun and played tennis for the first time after a while. It was important for me to get away a bit and I enjoyed it greatly. From Monday I am in Warendorf with the sport military group. These two months are very important for me for my endurance training. After that we will have a conditioning camp in Cyprus from 25th May. By then I hope to be fit enough to be able to keep up on the race bike. After that I am supposed to get back to skiing, provided the knee is happy.
Your brother Matthias is a big Bayern fan, your brother-in-law Marcus Höfl manager of Franz Beckenbauer. You were seen in fan gear at the game between Bayern München and Hannover at the Allianz Arena. Do you already have tickets for the possible Champions League final FC Bayern München against FC Barcelona?
Susanne Riesch: "My brother has two season tickets at the Allianzarena. I am not the typical fan always on site in full uniform. But if it works out and the weather is good I liked to go and watch. At the time of the Champions Legaue Final I will still be in Warendorf. I do think I could have received tickets through Marcus but it probably won’t work out. Warendorf is located 720 km from Garmisch and I might come home for a long weekend once. There are typically many athletes in Warendorf and I am sure, if the final is Bayern against Barcelona, that we will go and watch the game somewhere together."
Your plan for the 2012/13 season?
Susanne Riesch: "I missed a full year and had an extremely severe injury so I cannot really evaluate the situation fully. I did have an ACL tear in March 2005 and could then return to racing normally in November. Given the severity of the injury this time around is different. My thigh is still missing quite some muscle, which will be rebuilt. But it was not just an ACL injury but full knee damage. I am no longer in the first starting group and that is surely a goal to return to the top 15 by the end of the season. But if that does not work out I will for sure continue to fight and that is not the end of the world if I need more time during my comeback season. That is why my expectations are not too high. I know I have time and I will be happy when I can race again in November. That is my main goal right now."
Original Skiweltcup.TV article here