After spending his ski season working to qualify for the National Championships in Mount. St. Louis Moonstone, Ont., Justin Rokosh’s competition dreams came crashing down after sustaining a lacerated spleen and internal bleeding injuries following a fall on his first day of training.
“For five days in the hospital I wasn’t allowed to leave the bed, but at the time I was so drained of energy all I wanted to do was sleep,” recalled Rokosh.
“When I landed sideways my edge dug in and then I just whipped my side into the ground and it felt like any other crash really so I didn’t think a whole lot of it at the time … ten minutes later I was going up the chairlift and then I started getting really lightheaded I pretty much couldn’t see because everything was so bright,” he said.
Once he got off the chairlift Rokosh laid in the snow for around 25 minutes before he felt well enough to get down the hill. He called his mom, who is also a nurse, who advised he get to a hospital after listing his symptoms.
“(She said) it sounds like you hurt your spleen you could have internal bleeding. So (I) kind of thought ‘Ah I probably don’t but I should go anyways’ and then me and one of the coaches Mike went down to the hospital. Then there turned out I did end up cutting my spleen and had bleeding going on,” he said.
Rokosh said because his mom had already suspected his injury he wasn’t shocked when the doctors diagnosed him.
“I kind of thought it as like if it didn’t happen on the first day it would have happened eventually, I’ve got to think of it that way,” he said. “I was sad about missing nationals and not being about to compete but the missing the rest of the ski season and pretty much laying in my bed and seeing snapchats and videos of my friends skiing and doing all different types of stuff, that kinda sucked more I think.”
Following his diagnosis, Rokosh spent five days in the hospital on strict bed rest before being cleared to fly back home where he would spend another 12 weeks doing no activity.
Having had eight and a half weeks of recovery behind him Rokosh said he is starting to feel better and was hoping to be cleared to attend the Team BC Selection Camp in mid-may at Whistler Blackcomb but unfortunately, he’ll be waiting a few more weeks before getting back to any activity.
Rokosh will now set his sights on getting back to competition in June with plans to begin his competitive dirt biking and endurocross season.