Snowboarder Mark McMorris knew immediately his season was over. The 22-year-old Regina native continues to recover from surgery after fracturing his right femur Sunday at the Air + Style snowboard event in Los Angeles.
McMorris, the reigning X Games champion and Olympic bronze medallist in slopestyle, landed with his weight a little too far back on a jump in the second round and caught an edge.
McMorris said while he has had many falls over his career, he knew right away this time was different.
“Oh yeah,” he said Friday from California. “I yelled and said, ‘My femur is broken.'”
McMorris went under the knife Monday and is expected to make a full recovery in four to six months.
“They (doctors) said everything went according to plan, if not better,” McMorris said. “Now I’m just dealing with a huge leg trying to get the swelling (under) control and be able to use some muscles again.”
“It’s a slow, frustrating process but that’s the name of the game.”
The five-foot-11 159-pound McMorris won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Games despite competing with a broken rib. He’s considered one of Canada’s best hopes for Olympic gold in 2018.
Prior to being hurt McMorris was enjoying a solid season, having captured gold medals at the Dew Tour in December and X Games last month. Now, the 12-time X Games medallist is relegated to watching a lot of television, calling Friday’s abundance of snowboarding and surfing “a lovely day of content.”
Amazingly, McMorris isn’t sporting a leg cast.
“That’s the crazy part … it’s the biggest bone in your body but they don’t cast it,” he said. “People say it most likely will be more stronger than it ever was so that’s a positive.”
“It’s pretty much just learning how to deal with the pain. I’ve had a physio at my house for the last 48 hours just moving my leg and helping me gain mobility. It’s crazy what you can get done within the first four, five days post surgery. It’s motivating but it’s definitely achy.”
McMorris says he can get around with the use of crutches but sometimes requires assistance from friends.
“I have some forearm crutches that I use and I can cruise up and down my stairs on them and that’s a nice feeling,” McMorris said. “I try and not move too much.”
“I try to move the leg up. I can’t walk properly … they say it usually takes four to six weeks before you can walk normal but I think at the rate we’re going it’s going to be sooner than that.”
At first glance, the timing of McMorris’s injury could be seen as fortunate as it comes late in the competition schedule. But it’s a major setback for him.
“I guess the mainstream media thinks it’s the end of the season … but for me I make a movie, I film video parts, shoot photos and take that side of snowboarding equally as serious,” he said. “But it’s a positive in the sense that I’m not going to miss out on a ton of competitions.”
“Many people do say these injuries are super motivating and usually make you stronger so I’m going to take it in stride and hopefully progress from it.”
McMorris was also somewhat disappointed to hear Friday that CFL player and second cousin Chris Getzlaf was on the move. After eight seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the veteran receiver signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Eskimos.
That was a shock to McMorris, a diehard Riders fan who watched his team beat Hamilton to win the 2013 Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium.
“I feel like the Riders did the best they could ever do in my lifetime by winning the Grey Cup at home,” he said. “I think it’s hard for them to be able to top that.”
“I am always cheering for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s the only pro sports team I grew up with so I definitely back them. I wish I could follow more and go to more games.”