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On May 23, just two months prior to climbing’s Olympic debut, Jessica Pilz completely reptured her A4 pulley in the final round of the first Salt Lake City Bouldering World Cup. She posted on Instagram:
“During the 2nd boulder I heard a quite crunch from my left ring finger, I stopped for a moment but pain didn’t kick in, so I finished the boulder and went back… I couldn’t hold a crimp anymore but still continued because Boulder 3 consisted only of slopers. Right after finals I had an ultrasound scan which showed a fully ruptured A4 pulley. … Of course an injury isn’t what I need right now but I’ll take the challenge and will do my utmost to be back as soon and as strong as possible.”
Jessica Pilz received her Olympic invitation after placing 10th at the Hachioji Combined World Championships. Although lead is her specialty—she won the 2018 Lead World Championships in front of her home crowd in Innsbruck—Pilz has been steadily improving her ranking in the women’s bouldering field over recent years. Since the now 24-year-old began competing on the open circuit in 2011, she’s made finals in six Bouldering World Cups, to add to her 35 appearances in Lead World Cup finals.
According to Dr. Jared Vagy, “The Climbing Doctor,” a complete A4 pulley rupture is considered a grade II injury. His listed protocol: Immobilization for the first 10 days, followed by functional therapy for two to four weeks, return to easy climbing after four weeks, full climbing after six to eight weeks, and training through climbing after three months.
We wish Pilz the best of luck in her recovery and training!