Skateboarder Vanessa Torres talks ACL tear after climbing back to the top

The story of professional skateboarder Vanessa Torres is one for the books. She left her family at 16 in 2002 to pursue her dream of skating and quickly became a highly touted youth. Winning the first Women’s X Games skateboarding gold, Torres announced herself as the future of women’s skateboarding.

Amidst her meteoric rise were legendary video parts and more skate competition hardware. But she got caught up in the hard-partying scene at too young of an age, and she had lost all her sponsors and fell out of skateboarding.

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But in May of 2015 she finally made the hard decision to quit drinking cold turkey, and she once again dedicated herself to skateboarding. She quickly began to resurface on contest podiums and regained sponsors, making herself a force yet again in women’s skateboarding.

On the straight and narrow path, Torres was also putting in hard work filming for the all-female skateboard video “Quit Your Day Job” when she tore her ACL in September 2016. It was a complete tear of the ACL and meniscus and squashed the successful comeback she was having.

Torres had surgery in October and has been working harder than ever rehabbing to get back on her board, with an estimated recover time of 9 to 12 months. A GoFundMe campaign had recently been set up to help her with the mounting medical bills. We caught up with Torres to see how things are going and when we can all expect to see her back on her board.

How did the injury occur?

We were on the last few days of filming and I had some tricks in mind for a rail to wrap up my part. I threw a front boardslide down it then a 50-50 and was pumped. I ran back up and started trying to Smith grind it. A few attempts later, I locked into a 50-50 unexpectedly, and because all my weight had been setup for a Smith, I had no chance to counteract.

I came down full force, right foot planted and my knee just fell in. It was by far the most incredible pain I have ever felt in my life.

You were just wrapping up filming for “Quit Your Day Job,” how had it been going before this?

Honestly, this was the most eager I had been about filming a part in years so, the stoke level was high! Sessioning with your favorite crew of people/ladies of shred everyday ain’t a bad way to get that done either. We were getting solid content everyday we went out to film. The whole project was epic to be a part of.

My skating was better than ever. I got sober in May of 2015 and fell in love with skating all over again. Following my newfound sobriety, I found myself back up on the winner’s podium at X Games and Street League. When I came into the “Quit Your Day Job” project I was on cloud nine and I knew I wanted to give this part my all because I wanted to share the newest/best version of myself and my skating.

Have you had any injuries like this before?

I’ve been out from your typical ankle tweaks and whatnot, but nothing more than a month’s time. Blowing my knee out takes the cake of my entire career.

Do you have health insurance or is this all coming out of pocket?

I’m extremely grateful for the basic level of medical care I’ve been given. Unfortunately, it’s not complete care. I need support that is currently missing in terms of skate specific PT, training and medical care to assure that I make a full recovery in the best ways possible.

How is physical therapy going so far?

PT has been going really well, but I’ve also journeyed outside of just traditional physical therapy. Since this injury, I’ve realized how important whole body wellness is in healing. I do cross-training with my coach two times a week, work with two separate chiropractors and see an amazing acupuncturist/masseuse.

I am eternally grateful for all of these people.

How far along are you to putting weight back on it?

I was able to put full weight on it one month post-op. But everyone is different. The motivation to get moving was of utmost importance to me.

What has it been like to have a major setback like this so quickly after such a strong comeback?

I honestly have looked at it as a blessing in disguise. I’ve been able to tap into other passions that I probably wouldn’t have given the time had I still been able to skate. I have overcome so much in my life over the last two years and I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt. I’ll be back better than ever.

ACL hamstring reconstructive surgery got me like 💪🏾 // #ladiesofshred #killinitsoftly #cheapobrand #chpobrand #skateboardingisfun

A post shared by V A N E S S A T O R R E S (@vanessatorres) on

What’s been the most difficult part of this ordeal so far?

This injury has definitely been filled with ups and downs. It has been such an emotional journey, a true test of my strength, but everyday is a new day and a day closer to getting back on my board.

What’s keep you motivated during this adversity?

All the amazing people in my life, waking up early and staying on my recovery grind. No struggle, no progress!

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