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Lindsey Vonn Leaves World Championships Amidst Concussion Symptoms

Lindsey_VonnLindsey Vonn

Post concussion symptoms have forced Lindsey Vonn to pull out of the final three events at the World Championships currently being held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Vonn incurred the head injury during a Giant Slalom training run in Austria a week before the World Championships began, but cleared several concussion exams prior to, and during each day of the event.

This past Sunday, Vonn appeared to onlookers as the picture of health, winning a Silver Medal in the Women’s Downhill. Five days earlier Vonn finished seventh in the Super-G – the first time she truly tested her health in racing conditions.

Regardless of the success, Vonn felt uncomfortable continuing racing with a lingering head injury.

“Coming into this championship my plan was to race in all of the events, but I've decided to pull out of all the remaining events here in Garmisch,” Vonn told fans via her Facebook page.

Following the race, Vonn met with U.S. women’s team head physician William Sterett, and it was determined that her head was not clear enough to continue racing.

U.S. Ski Team spokesman Doug Haney relayed the following message to reporters, “She will continue to be evaluated throughout the whole period leading up to Are and once she's confident to get back to competition mode she'll make a decision about entering the training runs there, that's her goal.”

Reporters questioned why Vonn stopped competing so suddenly – after a Siler Medal performance in the Downhill – and the answer is two-fold. First, Vonn has been entangled in a web of injuries for the past few seasons and the final three events at the World Championships, Slalom, Giant Slalom and the Team Event, are her weakest.

At the Vancouver Olympics, Vonn battled a serious shin injury (but still captured gold in the Downhill and Bronze in the Super-G) and at last year’s World Championships she severely lacerated her thumb on a broken champagne bottle while celebrating after winning Super-G race. Earlier this season, she suffered a sprained MCL in a January training session.

"I have had an unusual amount of crashes or near crashes this year, but most of the injuries so far have been really manageable,” Vonn noted after the race Sunday." This head injury seems to be one of the toughest I've faced because it's not about fighting through it,'' she added.

Four World Cup events remain after the World Championships conclude and Vonn has decided to remain in Europe and heal-up in hopes of racing again this season. She is currently 156 points behind her close friend, Maria Riesch of Germany, in the World Cup standings.

"My plan now will be to take some time off and try to get 100 percent healthy again. My hope is that I will be healthy and fresh when the World Cup tour resumes at the end of the month in Are, Sweden,'' she wrote on Facebook.

Despite her best intentions and efforts to resume racing, no guarantee exists that she will actually return to the circuit this season.

-Ryan O'Leary

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