Uphill battle to ski again

Anderson Taylor
Anderson Taylor
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When Anderson Taylor broke his neck in a skiing accident he feared he may never be able to ski again. But after surgery and months of rehab he is back on the slopes. Catherine Scott reports.

A devastating skiing accident left Anderson Taylor fearing he may never take to the slopes again.

But thanks to French surgeons and a Yorkshire therapist Anderson is back on his skis, carrying out death-defying stunts.

The freestyle skier, 23, from Nether Edge, Sheffield, cracked two vertebrae and shattered the disc between them in a ski accident at a snow park in Les Deux Alpes in July 2012.

After under going emergency surgery in Grenoble, Anderson had to wear a full immobilising neck brace for four months and was left wondering if he would ever ski again.

As soon as the brace was removed and while unable to move his head or neck, Anderson visited MiTo Therapy, in Millhouses, for physiotherapy and he’s now back on the slopes.

“As an experienced skier, I’ve skied all over the Alps since the age of ten. I had just finished my first season in Val d’Isere, when we went on a summer trip to the glacier in Les Deux Alpes,” explains Anderson.

“During the season, I got into freestyle skiing on jumps and rails. I was practising at a new snow park when, as I was doing a back flip, I rotated a bit too much and landed on my neck. It was excruciatingly painful and I thought, that was it, I would never ski again.”

At the hospital in Grenoble, surgeons inserted a rod into Anderson’s neck to join his C4 and C5 vertebrae.

After four months in a neck brace, Anderson started physiotherapy with Michael Lee at MiTo Therapy.

“The aim was to regain full movement in my neck and build up strength in the muscles around my neck,” explains Anderson.

“This was done over several months of sessions with Michael. He helped me to turn my head to either side, helping the joints to rotate and move by pushing them with his thumbs, which was quite scary at first.

“This was accompanied by stretching and strengthening exercises to build up the muscles around my neck, which I also did at home several times a day.

“As part of the treatment plan, Michael performed acupuncture on the muscles around my neck to loosen them and he also created a tailored programme of physical activity.”

Within two months, Anderson had regained normal movement and built up full strength in his neck.

“I am back skiing now which is incredible and something I never thought would happen. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get back to normal life and resume physical activity, and a large part of that was down to Michael. I’m so grateful to him for getting me back doing what I love.”

Michael Lee, who was nominated for Personal Trainer of the Year at the 2013 National Fitness Awards, said: “Any fracture to the neck is frightening. The surgeons reported that he wouldn’t be able to turn his head to his left ever again, but with the correct exercises and treatments, Anderson has now regained full movement.

“It’s rewarding to help patients through difficult times and allow them to do the things they enjoy the most.”

Specialists in all kinds of therapy

MITO Therapy is a leading Sheffield practice specialising in physiotherapy, podiatry, sports massage and wellbeing

The practice offers physiotherapy, sports science, sports massage and nutrition, podiatry, acupuncture, Kinesio Taping, electrotherapy, spinal and peripheral manipulation, biomechanics, neurology, orthopaedics and trauma, pain management, post-surgical rehabilitation, customised orthotics, osteoarthritis, injection therapy and workplace health. It is based in Virgin Active Health Club, Millhouses, Sheffield.