Parkite Ted Ligety opts for season-ending surgery
Pain in his left leg leads to difficult decision for local skier
January 17, 2017
It's been a rough couple of seasons for Parkite skier Ted Ligety.
In 2016, the five-time World Cup giant slalom champion had season-ending surgery after sustaining a knee injury while training in Germany. That was the first time something such as injury shortened his season, but unfortunately for him, it wouldn't be the last.
On Monday evening, Ligety took to his social media accounts to announce he's opting to undergo another season-ending procedure. He first started noticing pain in his left leg when he competed in Soelden, Austria, back in October, but he tried to stick it out.
Ligety wouldn't race again until nearly a month and a half later, but something just wasn't right. In his four races in December, he couldn't even finish half of them. He competed in just five World Cup races this season, the last one being on Dec. 18 in Italy.
"Since Soelden, I have been dealing with severe nerve pain down my left leg that has not allowed me to ski at the level that I expect of myself," Ligety said in a Facebook post. "I have seen many doctors and therapists, undergone an array of treatments and therapies to no effect."
Ligety will have back surgery on Wednesday at the University of Utah. He is optimistic he will return in the spring, but won’t push it while recovering. The skier views summer as a more realistic goal.
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With his season now over, Ligety will be unable to defend giant slalom title at the World Championships (he won in 2015, but injury kept him from defending last season, as well) from Feb. 6-19 in St. Moritz. He knows, however, that this is the right move if he wants to continue his career after this season.
"This has been tough to accept, especially after last season, but on the plus side, hopefully this surgery will alleviate the back issues I have dealt with over the last few years," Ligety said in the post.
In the post, Ligety wrote that he will be undergoing a microdiscectomy procedure, a surgery to remove lumbar herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord, per WebMD. The micro part comes into play because it will be done under a microscope to view the discs and nerves.
While it is a surgery on the lower back, it's often used to remedy leg pain, which is what Ligety has been experiencing this season.
Despite the setback, the 32-year-old Ligety knows there's no time to feel sorry for himself. With his eyes still set on the 2018 Winter Olympics, he ended his post by using the hashtag "#illbeback" to put his fans at ease.
"I will be back strong and fast again," Ligety said in the closing sentences of his post. "Thanks for your support."
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