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April Fool’s Day surprise

It was a beautiful April Fool’s Day on the slopes. Until it took a terrible turn. Literally.

Gina Breslow was keeping up with her friends, former professional skiers Lane and Yale Spina, until she took a right turn over a rut she didn’t see in time. When she hit it, her right ski turned, but her left ski didn’t. She immediately knew she was in trouble.  

“When the binding didn’t release, I got catapulted into the air, with my knee completely twisted,” she shares. Unable to lift her arm or move her leg, Mount Rose Ski Patrol was summoned to transport her off the hill.  

Another friend drove her to Renown South Meadows, where in searing pain, she could barely tolerate moving for the x-rays. After which, the ER doctor told her the shoulder was separated, he suspected the ACL was torn, but he wouldn't examine the knee further for fear of more injury. Renown sent her home in a sling and a stabilizing brace and told her to call an orthopedic surgeon.

Gina knew if she was going to have surgery, GBO’s Dr. Rick Mullins was definitely her choice. He had already performed an operation on her former husband, who had tremendous results from his surgeries. “I knew him from personal experience when my ex-husband was walking within hours of his full knee replacement. And he told me that other orthopedic surgeons in town say Mullins is THE knee guy, so why would I go to someone else?”

At the first consult, Dr. Mullins didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear, so she did consider another surgeon.

“Dr. Mullins told me I needed to strengthen my leg through physical therapy (PT) before he would do surgery,” she says. “I wanted surgery right away, so I got a second opinion from a doctor at Tahoe who sees a lot of Olympic skiers. This doctor told me this injury was very complex, involving all the ligaments and a couple fractures, but he concurred with Dr. Mullins - the stronger I could get, the better the recovery.”

So, she signed up for intensive physical therapy. “Once I started doing the PT, I understood Dr. Mullins’ recommendation better,” Gina says. “I needed to stabilize the front and side ligaments of my knee before he could operate on the back.” 

Dr. Mullins’ goal was for her to be able to bend her knee to 120 degrees before surgery. A strong athlete who understands how her body works, Breslow got it to 145 degrees in just six weeks and could even balance on her left leg. 

Someone who was already a healthy eater, Gina has since packed her diet with homeopathic healing food to help with her recovery. “I’m a big believer in putting good stuff in to get good stuff out,” she says. 

Gina was walking on her own within a week of surgery and is continuing physical therapy for her knee and her shoulder. 

“Dr. Mullins is very matter-of-fact, which I appreciate,” Breslow says. “And it did give me some satisfaction that I was able to make him laugh toward the end.” 

She also has praise for Dr. Mullins’ assistant and the rest of the GBO team. “His whole staff is so professional and kind and the office is beautiful,” she says. “All of GBO was top-notch from beginning to end.”