What happened to Adam?

What happened to Adam?

Adam Ondra had a ground fall.

In February after flashing Supercrackinette 9a+ (5.15a), a few days later, Adam fell approximately 8 meters to the ground. Adam told me that he immediately knew what was going on and prepared himself for the landing. If you know Adam, you know that he is fast. Being fast means thinking fast. He landed on both of his feet, went into a squat position, touched the ground with his butt for a millisecond before he went into a standing position – like a tensioned spring. 

Adam was not in pain. Not at that moment. Not after. Logically they went to the hospital. MRI and X-ray were fine which definitely is very unusual, but when it comes to Adam, well maybe possible…

When did I step in? 

After my holidays I flew to Spain to help Adam with another 9a+ flash attempt in Oliana. At least that was the plan, until he told me. We both were super emotional about the incident and concluded that he is a super, super lucky bastard. While checking his body I noticed that there were several massively blocked areas which obviously resulted from the impact. But still it was extraordinary that he basically had “nothing”, so maybe I thought the landing was probably very soft, that there was rope drag and who knows… when you fall 4 meters it might feel like 8 meters, right?

What was missing?

Adam complained about a slight swelling on the knee. So I tested that as well, his medial meniscus jumped back on its position, a sign that it was locked before.
After the treatment and a conscientious check of his knee there was no indication for a not fully functioning knee. The swelling did not seem to be inside the joint. Did not seem… you see that was the problem. Make a long story short: It was not 100 percent clear. Because there was no question about the knee after the impact, there was no check up in the hospital done. But now it was.

The diagnose

Adam underwent an MRI scan. As you might now, MRI scans are always a point of discussion. That is why I think it does not do only good things to an athlete – but that is another story.
Result: massive bone bruise in the medial condyle, the lateral had one as well, the ACL was overstretched and the med. meniscus had a bad compression.  
 

Rehab started

Luckily I have a team in my clinic, so I could save all available treatment appointments for Adam. After an intensive therapy time and care of some weeks packed with full commitment of both sides Adam got a control MRI. It was taken in half the standard healing time and still, the bone bruise was gone completely. 

WOW! That was pleasant news! At this point I’d like to thank my team colleagues as well as Dr. Mark Wiedemscheck and his colleagues from the Landeskrankenhaus Feldkirch. They had never seen such a with blood well supplied spine in 20 years, as well as such a fast healing process.

And now tell me, what is key to treat a top athlete? The gold standard procedure or would you better get the individual norm of every patient? 

 

Silence (9c)

Silence (9c)

 

While I’m writing this I am already sitting in the plane back home to my family. Thank you Adam and the whole crew up in Flatanger for this extraordinary adventure! And big thanks to my tolerant partner Anneliese – without her this lifestyle would just not be possible! 

So he did it! How did that happen?

The first try

In the very first try from the ground up Adam was not climbing in his usual pace. To me it seemed like there was this slight search for more security in the climb, when usually he would just walk or rather run up the first 8b part. He rested two times more as I expected. Resting in this route means hanging like a bat, head facing down with your knees jammed into a crag, which if your not specifically trained for that, would be too exhausting for most climber’s legs. This time he fell in the first crux part which is an 8c boulder sequence.

The send

I treated Adam’s legs to get rid of his calf soreness. I suggested that it would be beneficial for his legs to stretch them passively and activate them afterwards, just right before he would start again in order to get the best performance out of his legs.

It is interesting that when I first treated Adam back in January this year I started with his feet and at the end of this project the last thing I worked on were his legs again.

During the whole process of working on Project Hard there were still several moves which turned out to be from close to impossible to just too hard to do. So I gave Adam some really hard exercises which should help him performing these specific moves.

Well and then when Adam went to the far end of the cave where Iva (his girlfriend) was already waiting for him, Pavel (manager, photographer) and Bernardo (filmmaker) were already hanging on their position. Everything happened very silent. Adam started climbing and like always I started filming with my phone for analytical purposes. At his first kneebar-stop he did not rest as much and he climbed faster this time! And the pace stayed the same. He continued without any hesitation and rested again with another kneebar just before crux 1. In the following sequence every move was on time and done very precisely. Also the hardest move of the route was done as solid as it can get, followed by the „pinkie move“, where Adam had to stuck his pinkie finger in a tiny little hole and as well he could do this move more precisely than ever.

Between crux 1 and crux 2 he took his longest and last kneebar rest in order to just crush crux 2. After that I started to be a bit shaky with the filming… he was obviously tired, there was something like a 6c/7a boulder left.  That was when he (I think) fought the most. After these few moves he really clipped the anchor of his Project Hard!

„Silence“

The name of the route is “Silence” – because nobody was shouting or cheering right after his send, not Adam, not Iva, Christina, the camera crew, neither was I. Everybody was just silent. Somehow we were not sure whether he really did it or not?! Somehow we could not believe it. Somehow it was just the perfect run after such a long time of intensive preparation. Maybe that’s why at first everybody stayed silent. Somehow we needed time to realize that Adam Ondra just sent SILENCE, the hardest route in the world.  

 

  Photos © Pavel Blažek    
Project Hard, the 2nd

Project Hard, the 2nd

So that was it. 20 days in Norway are over, we left Flatanger and are back home already. This time my partner Anneliese and my son Lui-Jakob accompanied me. The time we had was great! (see photos below)

Unfortunately it was not too successful for Adam and his Project Hard. In the beginning he was in an extremely good shape, together we worked precisely on certain moves, but after a view days he got sick. And being ill for some time means it takes time to gain the strength and power again.
At the same time a camera crew was around, journalists came and left again, which doesn’t lower the pressure probably.

Regarding my second passion – fishing: I love it there – despite the fact that Adam caught two salmon and I lost two! 😉
We were eating fresh fish almost every day. This was just awesome. So tasty…

Therapeutical thoughts:

What can you do when your athlete is sick? You wait and let him heal up for 100 percent, in order not to risk anything going in a wrong direction. Example: If you “only” had a flu, start with your training routine too early (when you aren’t completely cured), it can infect your heart. In the end health is always the biggest value and part of my job is maintaining that.
The other part is focusing on not to loose too much of the performance. But well, here it’s getting tricky right? Adam can not do his exercises, with the exception of his stretching (one thing he kept doing). So what can you do? Your brain is the boss. We worked on not loosing his neurological patterns, activating his movement engrams (see video). Without any weight of course. But therein lies the other possible little thing you can do, in order not to loose too much of the specific built up skills.

To get to know the person you work with is the key, especially when working together so closely. I enjoyed it a lot to spend my energy only on one athlete this time. Considering the specific exercises I think we are about to enter a certain stage, right now I am trying to figure out whether to push him a bit further or not. We’ll see and I’ll let you know.

 

 

Flatanger: Project Hard with Adam Ondra

Flatanger: Project Hard with Adam Ondra

First I have to say that at the beginning of this year I was looking for another challenge. And I found one. I became the physiotherapist of Adam Ondra and have the honor to help this incredibly strong climber to stay injury-free and improve his climbing, especially to make progress in his 9c project in Norway – called Project Hard.

As Adam and me planned in advance, the climbing in Flatanger would involve some fishing, or was it the other way around? 🙂
Anyway when I arrived there Adam and the rest of the crew had a rest day. So we started with the fishing first. At the end of the day Zuzka and me had to catch the food, because Vojta and Adam had to recover their forearms. 😉

Project Hard

After this nice fishing start it got serious. Adam tried a 9b in the cave but it just should not be. Later on I could watch him trying his Project Hard moves! Crazy, so crazy to see him trying something so incredibly hard and weird, upside down, overhanging and climbing feet first!
Just to be here, enjoying the nature of Norway, climb a bit myself and at the same time watching somebody with endless motivation and commitment … I’m really thankful for that. And all this takes place in the pretty and silent Flatanger region with its beautiful fjords.

Every time Adam and I met before this trip we had certain goals to work on. This time was different. I came to this spot to watch Adam doing the specific moves, right there in his project which I so far only had seen and analyzed in videos. Of course the question raised whether the treatments/exercises pay off or not.
And they did! This time Adam felt much better on certain moves we were working on. I could also show him one little trick in order to save just slightly more energy in the route. We both hope that these little additional things will work and make the difference.

But keep in mind what Adams project really is about: He wants to climb an 8b route, then an 8c boulder, the rest is an 8b boulder, followed by an 8a(+) route all the way up. This is in total about 45 metres of steep climbing.

Below you can watch some videos and photos of this awesome challenge.