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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Dziemian Out for 2019-2020 Season With Knee Injury

By Lara Carlton
December, 10 2019
Nessa Dziemian
Nessa Dziemian competes at the 2019 World Championships at Deer Valley Resort (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Steven Earl)

Three days into the final moguls prep period camp in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, Nessa Dziemian sustained a season-ending injury to her left knee, forcing her back to the United States to begin the healing process. Nessa tore her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and sprained her medial collateral ligament (MCL) on November 14.

“I was doing a backflip on the top air. I landed it like all of my other top airs that morning; however, I skipped the first turn out of the air this time,” Nessa recalled. “I was back seat into the second mogul. When I hit that mogul with my left leg hyperextended. It felt like my knee painfully exploded.”

Nessa describes this set back with wisdom beyond her years and has found herself in as good of a headspace as possible given the circumstances. “I do believe everything happens for a reason and there are things I will learn and grow from this setback. This is all part of the process towards my Olympic dreams. And when I get back on the slopes competing, I know I will be a stronger person mentally and physically from the experiences I had while coming back.”

She has a long road ahead of her to get back on snow, but Nessa is no stranger to the rehab process. In 2017 she suffered an ACL tear to her right knee and worked hard to come back strong for the 2019 season - which she finished ranked 12th in the world. On December 10 Nessa will undergo ACL reconstruction surgery with Dr. Vern Cooley at Intermountain Healthcare’s Park City Hospital. She plans to base herself in Park City for her recovery process and will work closely with U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s medical team to do so. It will be nine to 12 months of rehab and physical therapy before Nessa even considers buckling back into her ski boots. She looks to compete at the end of the 2020-2021 season as a best-case scenario return to competition.

“The PTs here [at U.S. Ski & Snowboard] are some of the best in the world. I really trust the staff here and know I will come back even stronger. I would love to compete in 2021; I don’t want to take off two years. But I’m also thinking more long term for my knee. I’d rather have it be testing great numbers in power and strength rather than push anything too soon.”

Nessa would like to especially thank her teammates, which have shown her the true meaning of friendship during this difficult time. Jaelin Kauf responded first to Nessa on the hill that day, “from that point on and even until now, my teammates have been helping me out with everything: rides to the airport, helping me pack, cracking jokes, making me waffles when I got back from the hospital (my favorite food so that was awesome). They’ve given me housing here [in Park City] while I figure out my own housing situation.”

She is also incredibly thankful for the U.S. Ski Team and all of her and the team’s sponsors.  “Being funded this past season has really helped put me into this optimistic headspace after my injury, and it motivates me to get back on snow. I’m incredibly grateful for everything the U.S. Ski Team -  Matt Gnoza, Riley Campbell, Joe Discoe, Josh Bullock and Chuck Williams - has done for our team this prep season. Unfortunately, I couldn't show all the hard work we put in into World Cup results this season, but their support for me definitely keeps me hungry to get back in the gates and fight for my best when the time comes.”

Follow along Nessa’s recovery with her on her personal Instagram account @nssdzmn and be sure to check out her art account @minty_orange where she’ll be channeling a lot of her extra time.

Nessa Dziemian
Nessa will base herself out of U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Center of Excellence for her rehab process. She looks forward to getting healthy and strong, as well as more time to work on her art like this. Follow her personally @nssdzmn and her art @minty_orange