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Eric Pollard Injury Update

February 8th, 2013 - Posted by newgard in LINE Skis News

If you’re planning on attending or competing in the Sochi Olympics 12 months from now, please be aware of the local medical facilities, or lack their of.

Eric was on the first day of a trip to his favorite powder stash in the world, Sochi Russia with the Nimbus crew. Eric rodeo’d an average sized natural air and landed clean into a white room, then immediately scruffed speed knowing there was a cat track ahead. Unfortunately it came up sooner than expected & he dropped 10+’ to flat on the cat track with a broken lower leg (tibia).

He got down the mountain to the local hospital the most knowledgeable medical staff unfortunately was his friends armed with google. The Russian “doctors” immediately put his leg into a cast. Luckily Eric called his doctor at home who confirmed this was the most dangerous thing that could have been done. If the leg swelled with no where to expand he could have lost blood flow leading and long term muscle damage or even need for amputation. He immediately cut his cast off having friends frantically run laps outside for bags of snow to keep the swelling down (no ice in the hospital).

Eric’s insurance guaranteed air & rescue from anywhere in the world, but that wasn’t good enough in Russia. The amount of customs paperwork & approvals to get in & out delayed the rescue by 48 hrs with essentially no medical services in town.

He was finally flown into a Franfurt Germany hospital . On day 3 he had a metal rod inserted to fix the break. Unfortunately the broken leg is now the least of his problems. because of the 2 days stuck in Russia without medical attention needed to secure the leg, he had now developed a much more serious and potentially long term problem.

The calf muscles continued to be inflamed & swelling but unable to expand due to a natural membrane around the muscle, this is called “Compartment Syndrome”. The only solution is to literally slice the lower leg open through the membrane the full length from the knee to the ankle to let the muscles expand to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately doctors in Frankfurt did not perform tests for Compartment Syntdrome until days of agonizing pain were endured by Eric. They were were giving him so much morphine that any more and there would be risk of dieing from overdosing even though he continued to tell them the pain would not go away. Finally days later through language, medical & culture barriers they performed the test needed to confirm Compartment Syndrome which was obviously positive.

5 days after the injury he finally was getting surgery done for the Compartment Syndrome. Unfortunately the day after, the pain continued to increase & doctors finally informed him that they had actually only releived 2 of the 4 compartments in his leg! They had to then go back in to surgery to slice open the other side of the leg for the remaining 2 compartments to expand.

It’s now been over a week since the injury and although the pain is at a more normal level, it will take weeks for the muscle to reduce swelling and his leg to be sewn up. The future health of his muscle tissue can only be determined over time. Since it’s too risky for him to fly home due to risk of blood clotting he has now been moved to a hospital that is considered to be one of the best in the country specializing in trauma with doctors that can better focus on his condition

Eric remains incredibly level headed, patient & persistent throughout this ordeal.  Long time friend & Line’s founder Jason Levinthal stayed with Eric throughout his first week in the hospital. Eric’s wife, daughter & parents are now with him.

We will keep you updated here. Thanks for your positive thoughts & blessings.


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