Like most elite athletes, the path to an Olympic medal is a physical mountain and the culmination of years of training and a large team of medical and sports professionals. For one Australian athlete, the mountain’s slopes were both the source of her physical challenges and the very reason for her Sochi Winter Olympic success.
Aerial skiing is one of the most bruising Olympic sports and for Australian bronze medallist Lydia Lassila, the lead up to Sochi took a toll on her body with multiple musculoskeletal issues. dorsaVi’s ViMove product became an important component of her journey to winning an Olympic medal.
When Lydia first consulted specialist sports physiotherapists Trish Wisbey-Roth and Ashley Merkur in March 2013, she was experiencing persistent issues with lower back pain, which she had been suffering from since 2002 when she was diagnosed with an L4/5 spinal facet injury.
Using dorsaVi’s ViMove product, Trish was able to identify a number of issues to be addressed. According to Ashley, “Trish’s expert assessment identified a combination of anterior hip instability, sacroiliac joint incompetence, and absence of deep spine, pelvic and hip stabilising muscle activation amongst other aberrant recruitment patterns. A combination of Trish’s expertise and the comprehensive information ViMove provided meant these issues were able to be ordered in priority and a rehabilitation plan put in place.”
Trish’s expertise and Ashley’s hands on treatment allowed them to create a dynamic rehabilitation program.
Lydia completed the program over a two month period and made consistent improvements. Continuous ViMove assessment (see diagram above) meant exercises were able to be progressed to retrain control and dynamic optimal movement.
Following this rapid improvement, Lydia was able to focus her efforts on training in the lead up to Sochi. By September her health and confidence had improved dramatically. “I am now in a much better position physically and feel like I am more informed and equipped with skills to manage this area of my body now and in the future,” she said. Lydia competed at the Beijing World Cup in December 2013 where she came second and the Canada World Cup the following month which she won. Lydia’s endurance and the difficulty of jumps she attempts is greater than ever, which shone through in her medal-winning performance at Sochi.