motivational spotlight: Carro Djupsjö
Caroline “Carro” Djupsjö is a 26 years old professional wakeboarder from Sweden. The summer she turned 13, she spent every minute at the local waterski club; riding with her friends in the freezing waters of Sweden. After endless attempts, crashes, and headaches from the sport, she finally landed her first backroll and discovered the incredible adrenaline rush of wake boarding. Since that moment, she has not stopped following her passion for wakeboarding. With the support of her sponsors and the Swedish Wakeboard Federation, she is now incredibly grateful to be traveling the world competing and doing what she loves.
In 2014, she was named European Female Wakeboard Athlete of the Year and has been competing internationally since 2008. Prior to tearing her ACL in 2016, she placed 1st in the Battle of the Backyard race in Sweden. She trained hard in rehab and made an incredible comeback, winning 1st place in the US Open of Cable Wakeboarding in Dallas, Texas.
To help other athletes, she opens up to XCLevation about her ACL recovery experience, and advice for the road to recovery.
BE SURE TO FOLLOW CArro ON IG: @wakecarro
Carro Djupsjö shares her ACL experience
ON HER ACL STORY
I was out wakeboarding in the Philippines and ended up landing weird on a trick that I usually can do in my sleep. After numerous MRI’s and doctor appointments it was clear that I had a partial tear in my ACL and LCL, tear in both meniscus, cracks in both my tibia and fibula and a crack in the patella cartilage.
It took two surgeries to clean it all up, the second one being my ACL reconstruction with a patella graft.
For a more detailed explanation of my ACL injury and comeback, check out the video at the end of the post.
ON THE HARDEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
The hardest part was that for so long I had been identifying myself as “Wakeboard-Carro” and all of a sudden I couldn’t do the thing I’d been working so hard towards and loved more than anything. Watching everyone else progress and have fun during the summer and patiently sitting on my stationary bike doubting whether or not my knee would ever be okay.
ON A TYPICAL DAY PRE AND POST ACL TEAR
Pre-ACL tear, I’d wake up and have a yoga session, have breakfast and go wakeboard for 2 hours. Then have lunch, answer some emails and a power nap before another 2-3 hour evening session and if I wasn’t completely wrecked I tried to squeeze in a 15-20 minute workout after that (e.g. weights or running).
Post-ACL surgery, I would spend about 1-2 hours a day rehabbing and the rest of the time studying or seeing my family. Everyday was different and I tried to distract my mind as much as possible by trying to take up things I otherwise would have been too busy to do. I started university, for example. Once I could start using my knee a bit more, I took up rock-climbing and fell in love with it!
ON REHAB FOR A PRO WAKEBOARDER VS. RECREATIONAL ATHLETE
It’s hard to say how rehab is different because I think everyone is unique. Im sure recreational athletes can feel as strongly about their sports as professional wakeboarders can. I guess one thing that may be different is that I got help from an amazing PT 2-3 times a week due to being on the national team. Besides seeing her those times, I usually did 3-4 sessions a week on my own as my mind was burning to get back to my sport, which I’m sure can be found in anyone passionate enough about what their doing.
The biggest difference, I suppose, is the added stress I felt due to not knowing if my sponsors would support me during my comeback or if I’d get dropped from the team, which in my work equals getting fired, which can cause serious financial issues. I did lose two of my sponsors in the process, but the most important ones stood by me and supported me throughout my entire recovery period.
ON ADVICE FOR OTHER ATHLETES RECOVERING FROM ACL INJURIES
There is so much advice that I could share, but it would be hard to share it all here. That’s why I’ve started posting more ACL videos and thoughts on my youtube channel @Wakecarro. If I can narrow it down to two tips it would be these:
(1) DO YOUR REHAB
No matter how boring it is or how little you feel results, it does help. One thing I did was to write a diary or film myself doing certain drills. Then I could look back and see that even though I didn’t feel any better from day to day, I was progressing.
(2) DISTRACT YOURSELF
If you end up worrying about whether things will work out and if your knee will ever get better, than you’ll go insane. Try to trust that everything will be okay and try putting new things in your brain instead of those “worst case scenario”-thoughts. Start painting or take up swimming or learn to play guitar.
ON HOW SHE GOT INTO WAKEBOARDING AND WENT PRO
I started wakeboarding back home in Sweden and I never thought I would ever go Pro. After my first year of competing at 14, I had won almost every contest I entered and I was lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing coaches, friends and very supportive parents. I moved out of my parents house to attend a school with special focus on sports at 16. By 19, I was done with school and decided to try my luck in the US. By 21, I had turned fully pro, where I had sponsors that could fully support my lifestyle. I still look back and feel so blessed to have gotten to where I am today with a ton of hard work and help from the most amazing people along the way.
ON HOW THIS INJURY HAS CHANGED HER LIFE
This injury has changed my life completely and I know that this may sound weird but I believe that if I could go back and not hurt my knee that day, I would still hurt it. Today I am back wakeboarding better than ever as all the time I had to take off gave me time to strengthen my body and get in the best shape of my life. All the things I learned from the tedious rehab and all the new aspects of life I was shown (like school, new hobbies and new friends) gave me so much more than I think I would’ve gotten wakeboarding that season. I know you may not feel like it while you’re going through the rehab (I know I def did not!), but there might come a day where you’re grateful for what you learned through your injury.
Good luck to you and don’t forget to ask for help if you need it. I was lucky to work with a sport psychologist to get me through my darkest thoughts and it really helped to be able to vent to someone.
Thank you Carro for sharing your experience and advice with the XCLevation community!