After being sidelined for more than seven months with a busted eye socket, broken nose, and serious concussion from an accident during training, Olympic silver medal snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler is back, and prepping for her hometown X-Games.
“It was a terrible experience,” Bleiler told the AP. “Now that I’m back, I have a new perspective. I’m just letting myself have fun, let everything come back when it comes back. That’s where I’m at mentally with everything.”
Bleiler is still plagued with double vision and still starts every day by stretching the muscles surrounding her eyes after taking her own knee to the face while practicing a double backflip maneuver on a trampoline last June.
“I was bleeding everywhere and throwing up,” she said. “At one point I was like, `This is definitely not worth it’… I was like, ‘Oh no, am I ever going to ridge the halfpipe again?’ I was so far from being all right. But that was also a kick in the pants. I needed to do something actively to make this happen.”
Bleiler finally got on the half-pipe again last month, and will compete in her first event since the accident when she drops in at the X Games in Aspen next week. Then she’ll set her sights on Sochi.
“I’m happy to be feeling better again and healthy and just be back on my snowboard.”