The One-Legged “Boot Legend”
We all experience major setbacks at some point along our climbing journey, and if you’ve ever wondered ‘how do we deal with and overcome those setbacks?’, you’re in the right place. Liverpool Sandhills Hangar crew member, Max Prescott, shares his own experiences about recovering from a broken ankle and getting back to climbing, as well as some valuable lessons which he learnt along the way.
Last April, I broke my ankle skateboarding. Two months later, I managed to send Picnic Sarcastic (7a+) one-legged at The Bowderstone in the Lake District. I was very proud of that achievement, not just because of the grade, but also because it represented what I was still capable of despite having broken my ankle.
I’m No Tony Hawk
My parents bought me a skateboard for one skateboarding lesson I had when I was younger, but that about summarises my history with the sport. I thought it would never be used again. However, we were just beginning to ease out of the third lockdown, and my friend and I sought to cure our lockdown fatigue with a trip to the local skatepark. I dusted off the old skateboard and we hit the ramps. We’d only been there twenty minutes, and I thought the next progression would be to drop in on a (small) half-pipe… I think you can already see where this is going to go wrong. I had the skateboard hovering over the edge of the ramp, and after one deep breathe, I thought ‘F*** it’ and leant forward. But my instincts betrayed me, I immediately recoiled, sending the skateboard flying and landing in an awkward heap on my right leg. I knew it was broken immediately. Picture 1 shows the scene when the paramedics arrived.
I broke two bones in my ankle and ruptured my deltoid ligament, meaning it was an unstable ankle fracture and would require surgery (see Picture 2). I was told it would be a good outcome if I could walk again without pain. The first two weeks were all about managing pain, resting, and keeping the ankle elevated to reduce the swelling for the surgery. After the surgery, the following two weeks were much of the same until the cast could be removed. Essentially, I would spend the whole day in bed only getting up to make food or go to the bathroom.