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US Downhiller Breezy Johnson Sustains Second Knee Injury

After a miraculous recovery from ACL surgery last season, Johnson is back on the sidelines with a torn MCL and PCL.

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U.S. Ski Team Member Breezy Johnson
Johnson is one to watch on the US Ski Team.Photo courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard

It’s like deja vu all over again for US Ski Team member Breezy Johnson, and not in a good way.

Less than a year after tearing her ACL in a training run in September, Johnson finds herself back on the road to recovery after suffering yet another knee injury two weeks ago.

On June 13, during training camp at the US Ski Team’s official training site at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., Johnson caught an edge and crashed hard, tearing her left posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) on her left knee.

In an Instagram post, Johnson expressed her reaction to her second major knee injury within a year, saying, “Devastated, gutted, shattered. These adjectives don’t do justice to how I’m feeling right now… I just had some absolutely sh*t luck. Again.”

After a standout 2017-’18 season—she collected FIS points in 10 out of her 15 downhill and super-G races and earned a top-10 finish at her first ever Olympic Games in PyeongChang—Johnson was the team’s rising star and the one to watch in the 2018-’19 season. But that trajectory was stalled while she was forced to put her energy into recovering from ACL surgery.

Breezy Johnson training at the Center for Excellence
Johnson, 23, tore her ACL in her right knee during a training run at El Colorado in Chile on Sept. 3, 2018.Photo courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard

As she states in her Instagram post, she made a remarkable recovery from this initial injury. She was back on snow after just four months, back skiing gates after five and a half, and back training downhill after seven. All her attention was focused on coming back stronger than ever for the 2019-’20 FIS Ski World Cup circuit.

In a blog titled “Patient Notes”, Johnson chronicled the ups and downs of her experience during that recovery period. In her last post on April 3, she discussed the mix of emotions—fear, hope, excitement, joy—that she felt as she began downhill training again. “But I know why I do it,” she said in the post.

Johnson is scheduled for surgery to repair the PCL and MCL in her left knee this Tuesday, and is anticipating months of tough rehab, physical therapy, and recovery. As of now, she has not announced whether she hopes to return to racing for the upcoming season, stating in her Instagram post that she “will make no guarantees about returning quickly or well (at least in the short term).”

Although Johnson is frustrated at the reality of another arduous comeback, her dedication to the sport and her competitive spirit have never wavered.

“But what I do know is that there’s no going back. There’s only through. And I love this sport so I’ll give it everything I have, and more.”

We wish her a speedy recovery. Follow Johnson’s Instagram for frequent updates on her road to recovery this year.