JuniorsRacingAmy Glen – The Next Alaska Assassin?

FasterSkier FasterSkierMarch 14, 2008

Editor's Note: Amy Glen won the girls J1 classic sprint at the Junior Olympics on Monday in dominating fashion. She was 5th in Wednesday's 5km freestyle event. It is also worth noting that it says something about Amy that she describes trying to avoid accident and dodge between two cars at high speed, as “making her move” – as if she were taking the lead in the sprint finals…

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Feb. 1, 2008 — On a windy October day in 2006, rising national cross-country star, 14-year-old Amy Glen, was training on roller skis through the Anchorage, Alaska hillside, when everything went tragically wrong.

“A huge gust of wind came from behind pushing me way too fast down a steep incline,” says Glen. “Roller skis don’t have brakes, and at 30 mph, it was impossible to slow down.”

Glen accelerated, uncontrollably, down the shoulder of the road with no hope of stopping. A car pulled out in front of her compounding an already hairy situation. For a few moments, it looked as though everything would turn out well; the vehicle began traveling away from Glen. Unfortunately, the skier picked up speed and quickly caught up with the automobile. With no brakes, and obstacles like mail boxes blocking her path on the right side of the car, she had no other option — she had to pass the car on the left putting her in the oncoming traffic lane.

“Passing on the left didn’t work out too well, “ says Glen. “Once I made my move, I now had a car to the right of me and a car coming toward me in the oncoming lane. I had to try to fit in between the two cars — in the middle of the road. As we passed each other, I hit the back left tire of the oncoming car. That’s how I sustained my injuries.”

Glen impacted the tire in a sitting position. Her pelvis primarily absorbed the force of the collision when her femur was pushed into her hip socket, breaking a piece from the bone. In total, Glen cracked her pelvis in three places, breaking and displacing her left acetabulum. Glen suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in her right knee and sustained large bruises and scrapes on her arms from her ski poles. She also received substantial skin loss from attempting to stop her momentum.

Glen was quickly taken to a nearby hospital.

“Probably the worst part of it all was the way they kept me in traction,” says Glen. “My leg hung from ropes that were attached to either side of a six-inch pin that they drilled through my left tibia.”

After almost two-weeks in hospital, Glen’s mind immediately returned to skiing.

“I started doing strength workouts and stomach exercises about two days after getting out of the hospital,” Glen says. “ My coach and I had to be creative and invent ways of training while sitting in a chair or lying on my stomach. I couldn’t walk, so I started swimming and worked on a stationary bike. My recovery was quick. I was skiing by December of that year, surprising all of my doctors.”

It’s this type of fearless dedication to the sport of cross-country skiing that Glen, who is now 16, will bring to the 2008 Junior Olympic Cross Country Ski Championships, in Anchorage’s Kincaid Park, March 9 — 15, 2008. Noted as one of the best in the west, Glen put checks in the “win” column this season at the Besh Cup, the Kincaid Classic and the Hickock Pursuit, as well as placing in the top 10 juniors at Senior Nationals in Houghton, Michigan.

Despite some “numb spots” on the left side of her body, and a few “cool scars,” Glen has made a full recovery from her injuries.

“I don’t feel different as an athlete now compared to before the crash,” says Glen. “ I worked through my injuries with the optimistic determination that I’ve always had. Probably the only thing the accident did was make me tougher.”

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