Andrew Haraghey competes in PyeongChang (Photo: Joe Kusumoto)
After a pair of injuries that have kept him off the snow since last fall, Andrew Haraghey is “headed in the right direction,” according to the skier himself.
Haraghey is a Para Alpine skier from Salt Lake City. He competed in the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and he had a plan to improve his skiing before the Beijing 2022 Games.
That plan was altered last October when he broke his ankle and underwent a surgery a month later. He then fractured a previously fused joint near his toe in early March.
“I was about two days away from putting a ski boot on, and then I broke my toe. It was a little bit of a setback,” Haraghey said.
He had a follow-up appointment with his doctor on April 2, and he was given news better than he anticipated.
“The second injury is healing up well, and the first one should be good to go by now,” he said.
He also said he’s “pretty stoked” about finally being able to put a ski boot on.
Haraghey said he would like to spend time on snow over the offseason to make up for the time he has missed. Such plans are still murky.
Haraghey trains at the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah. Park City is roughly 30 miles east of his home in Salt Lake City.
After his doctors give him the all clear, Haraghey said he might go to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Training Center to work on his conditioning alongside a trainer. For now, he’s taking his recovery and practice day by day rather than focusing on setting goals for next season.
“The second injury was such a setback,” Haraghey said. “That kind of killed the chance I had of competing all of this year.”
He added: “Right now, (I’m) just focusing on getting back the strength I was heading into the season with, and then working with strength and conditioning staff, mental performance staff.”
Haraghey said he would like to ski better than he did in his last race, but that was in February 2020.
The Paralympian has cerebral palsy, which typically affects one’s muscle coordination. The COVID-19 pandemic did not significantly alter Haraghey’s road to recovery. He has in-person physical therapy sessions twice a week to improve the strength of the muscle groups around the broken bones and pool sessions every other week.
“After having not used any muscles on that one leg for two or three months, it needed a little bit of work to get back the strength, especially with the CP adding its own unique challenge of having to deal with that,” he said. “If I don’t use my muscles, they kind of go away quicker than maybe the average individual.”
Outside of therapy, Haraghey has implemented an at-home workout routine. He has barbells, kettle-balls and bands that he uses on his front porch.
“It’s pretty nice when you can just set up on the front porch, instead of having to go to the gym,” he said.
Haraghey has had some help with technology to make his at-home workouts more productive. Athletesneed feedback on their workouts from supervising coaches. Haraghey uses a smartphone app called TrainHeroic to share his workout results — reps, weight, times — with his strength and conditioning coach, who uses to monitor his progress.
After a year of uncertainty, the Para Alpine Skiing season ended with strong performances from U.S. skiers. Jesse Keefe, Laurie Stephens, Jasmin Bambur, David Williams and Andrew Kurka all won gold medals at Nationals. Haraghey is hoping to add his name to that list next season.