Julia Marino is always thinking about her story, and it would be hard not too, given how much of an adventure her life has been so far. “Being adopted out of Paraguay to have a normal life in America would’ve been enough of a story itself,” she says. “But I’ve had the chance to live a life beyond what anybody could even dream of.”
As an Olympic skier, Julia has been competing at the top of her sport for almost a decade. In 2014, she reached the pinnacle of snow sports at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But how she got there – and where she plans on going now – was heavily influenced by a devastating knee injury just a few years before the Olympics.
It’s August during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Abbey D’Agostino is a runner in the 5,000-meter preliminary heat. She smiles and waves at the camera as it pans in front of the participants at their starting blocks — a positive, self-assured smile that stands out amongst the competitive grimaces around her. In this moment, she is where all track and field athletes aspire to be — at the pinnacle of their sport in an Olympic stadium.
Young athletes benefit from playing sports in a variety of ways — from better fitness and overall health to higher self-esteem and improved academic achievement. But with this participation comes the risk of injury.
While some injuries build up over time and cause pain that is often ignored, others may be random and unexpected. Dr. Dennis Kramer, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, explains what may put an athlete at risk for an overuse injury and how to minimize the risk of traumatic injuries, such as an ACL tear. …
“The crux of Olympic competition is to do everything you can to be the first one to cross the finish line,” says Abbey D’Agostino. But that’s not what Abbey did during the 5,000-meter qualifying heats in the 2016 summer games.
Abbey had trained for her Olympic moment for years, adhering to the rigid 24/7 lifestyle of an elite athlete since graduating from Dartmouth College and signing to run professionally with New Balance.
Abbey’s Olympic moment came unexpectedly when she and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin collided and tumbled to the ground.
What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship.
Abbey ignored her training, her coach’s advice, her dreams.
She stopped and extended her hand to Nikki, and the pair hobbled through the final mile of the event side by side.
“What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship,” says Dr. Mininder Kocher, associate director of Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine.
There were a few things Abbey didn’t know during that fateful mile. She would be diagnosed with a devastating injury: a complete tear of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a meniscus tear and a strained medial collateral ligament. She and Nikki would be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for Olympic spirit. And her team would expand.
Physical therapist Carl Gustafson would join Team Abbey, along with her coach Mark Coogan and Kocher, a world-renowned knee surgeon. …