Gretchen Bleiler is one of the top female snowboarders in the world. Over the weekend she finished in third at the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mtn., Colorado. Impressive by any standard but what makes her podium appearance an even bigger deal is the challenges she’s overcome.
Xgames.com recently published a video in conjunction with Muscle Milk (one of Gretchen’s sponsors) that tells Gretchen’s remarkable story. While warming up she suffered a broken eye-socket, broken nose and a concussion. A number of people thought this would be a career ending injury for her but she wouldn’t hear any of that. As a pro athlete, Gretchen felt there was a way to get better.
When traditional eye exercises didn’t work, Gretchen and her team created their own program. The experimental technique combines ocular rehabilitation with high-intensity strength training and conditioning. Gretchen combined physical activity while focusing on a single point. Check out how Gretchen pushed herself and got back on a snowboard. She’s got her sights set on the Sochi Winter Olympics, which she says could be her last Games.
When doctors said she wouldn’t make a full recovery from a devastating eye injury, Gretchen Bleiler created an eye-strengthening training program that had never been done before and beat the odds.
Gretchen says, “I see the Olympics as this opportunity to get better, push harder and do things you never thought you could do.” We’re not all Olympic athletes but Gretchen’s story reminds us to never give up and keep pushing through adversity.
Lead image compiled from Xgames.com video.