It’s been a rough summer for Brendan Green, and a largely horizontal one at that.
“It’s a little tough cause I can’t sit for too long, so I spent most of my day laying on my back,” Green said.
The biathlete and 2010 Olympian from Hay River aggravated a herniated disc in his back at a World Cup event in Oslo, Norway in February. The pain was excruciating, but Green still managed to post a career-best ninth-place finish. When the race was over, though, he knew something was definitely wrong and the old injury had definitely gotten worse.
It ultimately cost Green the rest of last season, and now he says he’s worried it may keep him from the start line well into the coming race calendar as well.
Green underwent one round of surgery in April, but it was unsuccessful. After a second surgery in August put him back on his back, Green said his biggest focus now is on recovery. He’ll worry about racing after he’s able to walk easily again.
“It’s going kind of slow. I had the second surgery in the middle of August. It’s definitely been a really slow recovery. At this point just still getting comfortable with walking and doing quite a bit of physio. It will be weeks before I strap on the boards again,” he said.
The surgeries were an attempt to remove the herniated material from Green’s spine and relieve pressure on a nerve that was hindering his mobility and causing a lot of pain. He said that usually such surgeries are successful, but this time the odds just didn’t work out in his favour.
“It just kind of boiled down to bad luck. Basically there was a 10 per cent chance of re-herniating my back within six-months post operation, and I just fell on the wrong side of that,” he said.
The snow has just started falling in Hay River, but in Green’s home base of Canmore, Atla., the ski club has rolled out a couple kilometers of man-made snow. Athletes from across the country are in town to take advantage of “Frozen Thunder,” but Green has to make due with a little core work and a lot of physio.
It’s difficult, he says, but focusing on his recovery takes most of his effort and is a good distraction.
“At this point it’s a lot of basic physio, mobilization work, lots of core activation and progressing into more advanced core work. I’m just walking at this point. Hopefully I can start doing some water running and things like that, but it’s very basic. A lot of the neurological stuff and muscles aren’t firing properly yet, so I have to retrain them.”
Green said he has an MRI scheduled for next week, which should give him and his coaches a better indication of when he can return to the snow.
“That should give us a picture of what things are looking like and a bit of a better understanding and how things are going. I could potentially be doing some racing late February and hopefully for some of March. And what level, we have no idea. Realistically it would just on the domestic circuit. The main focus now is to try to recover 100 per cent,” he said.
— Jesse Winter