Cruiser Felix Monsén talks about the damage hell
Full speed ahead is what applies to speed specialist Felix Monsén, 28.
But after three knee operations, the alpine skier wondered if it was even worth holding on any longer.
– There have been some really dark periods where you feel it’s not worth it, he says.
It was just an ordinary practice run before a downhill competition when the accident happened. Felix Monsén crashed and suffered a torn patellar tendon, the anterior cruciate ligament was completely torn and the outer meniscus was damaged.
It was the start of a long injury hell where he has missed almost two whole seasons, the Olympics and the WC.
– It hasn’t been super fun. I am lucky that I have many good people around me who have helped me. There have been some really dark periods where you feel like it’s not worth it. But as soon as I could start skiing, and now that I’m skiing fully again, you think that there is nothing else in life that can be compared to and that gives me so much energy and joy, says Monsén.
How do your thoughts go during those really dark periods?
– It’s really just that you want to find something else in life. It is also dark because you worry and wonder if you will ever be able to have a healthy life. It was a long period where I couldn’t walk normally and the most enjoyable thing for me in life is sports. I play a lot of tennis, golf and padel and do a lot of that with my brothers and friends. It’s my way of socializing.
Support from former teammate
Did you have concrete thoughts about quitting?
– I really did. I also live down in Innsbrück (Austria) and felt many times that one might have to move home again. It gets lonely there and I moved down for the skiing. But my old teammate Alexander Köll also lives there and we are like brothers. He has really been a big part of me being able to fight on, he says.
Another part of why it has been difficult is that Monsén’s girlfriend lives in Stockholm, while he himself has mostly been in Austria and underwent his rehab.
– She lives in Stockholm and it’s also a bit tough with a long-distance relationship, you think about whether you should move home and have a more comfortable life instead.
Selected in the squad
However, the dark times are over and Monsén is selected for the Swedish national team in alpine as the only speed skater on the men’s side.
– Last autumn, I was a little unsure if things would ever get better again. Then it took a few weeks and then it got better, and then it stagnated a bit. But from February to the end of March the knee developed quite a lot and now it’s almost 100 percent, it feels like. Now it’s really just full speed ahead, he says.
What happens if you suffer another setback?
– I guess we’ll see. Now the doctors said that I don’t have any cartilage damage in my knee and that’s what you worry about with such big knee damage. Take Lisa Hörnblad as an example, she has incredible problems with cartilage damage and it is a pain that is difficult to deal with. But I don’t have those problems and he (the doctor) has said that my knee is fully healed and that’s what I’m going for.
“Almost feeling better now”
When Monsén whizzes down the competition slopes again, he doesn’t just do it because he’s happy to be there. He tells us that he has the same goal as earlier in his career and despite the almost two-year absence, it may even be an even better Felix Monsén on the skis.
– Now that I’ve started riding again, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away for two years, the riding almost feels better now. I’ve had an incredibly long period where I’ve been able to travel freely and work on a technique that you don’t usually have time for. Then you chase hundredths and push a stick and now I have been able to take a few steps back and work on a basic technique, almost like an Austrian ski instructor style, and implement it in my competitive skiing, he says and continues:
– As my serviceman from Slovenia said: “I don’t know if I’ve seen you ride this well before”. Somehow I feel that I have all the prerequisites.
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