(Duration: 0:45 minutes | Size: 2 MB)
Todd Brooker's Story
Living a life of sports, action and physical activity always has been my passion and still is the way I live. When I was given a chance to race on the Canadian National Ski Team and compete in downhill skiing racing on the World Cup, I was a little short on experience and technique, but I was over the top on enthusiasm and desire!! I had a coach that once told me, “If you never fall down, you’re not trying hard enough!!” That was never my problem. I intended to be so good, that I often took big risks on course designed to make me faster. Sometimes this strategy works, and other times it doesn’t. And although overall in my career I found success in many races and events, the wear and tear of my many crashes took its toll in the injuries that I sustained.
Athletics of every kind takes a toll on the body, no matter who you are. The competition is often the least of the wear and tear. To be the best in any sport you have to train around the calendar even for a short competitive season. Aside from skiing ten months per year, whether I was at home or abroad, I would find a weight room and continue the training that enabled me to compete on a high level. At the foundation of my weight training program was an exercise known as “squats”. In short, you put about 250 pounds on each side of a 6 foot long bar, step underneath the middle of it resting it on your shoulders, then you do as many deep knee bends as you are able – hopefully you are able to get the bar back on the mount after you finish. This is one set. During my best years of competition, I was doing about 15 sets of squats per day on average plus bike riding, sprinting and many other activities that target the muscles that I needed to develop in order to improve my overall fitness for ski racing. My days were consumed by training for the sport that I enjoyed the most!!
At the start of my competitive career, in only my second year on the ski team, I sustained a knee injury in a spectacular training crash on a glacier in Austria. I severed all four ligaments in my left knee and underwent the first of many operations on that same knee. Once there is a weakness or a flaw in one part of your body, particularly a knee to a skier, there is an overwhelming percentage odds of doing damage to that same place again. I have personal proof of this!! Three major surgeries and thirteen arthroscopies on that left knee later, I have developed a severe case of arthritis in that joint that requires some kind of daily attention otherwise I suffer with pain and stiffness that doesn’t get any better. In fact, as many people are aware, even the most minor cases of arthritis due to wear and tear significantly develop into major problems with age.
The symptoms that I suffered with throughout the years that I raced were pain, stiffness and a dramatic decrease in my range of motion causing an overall lack of mobility. There were only a few treatments that would give me any relief from these things: application of ice, ingestion of anti-inflammatory and other medications, or rest. In my experience on the road with my sport, finding and applying ice to my knee became a pain in the neck, so I found it difficult to continue this treatment on a regular basis. Resting meant taking a day off skis and allowing my competition to get a leg-up on me, so this was not an option I would consider unless totally necessary. That just left one option: medication. It was fast, simple and in ample supply. So this was the basis of my treatments for many years during the course of competition and for many years after. However as I knew all along and particularly in the last several years, all medications have side effects. Taking drugs is a risk, if not now, then years down the road. Taking risks because of taking pain and anti-inflammatory medications is not what I desire to do any longer. Many people agree with me that the medications meant to deal with arthritis can be dangerous to other areas in your body. They are not the best long term solution accept to those is severe situations. But what else is there? I certainly didn’t know and wouldn’t find out for many years.
Then recently and quite by accident, I heard from a friend about Sonic Relief, a portable ultrasound and pain therapy unit that was highly recommended for arthritis pain and in the reduction of inflammation due to arthritis or injury. I knew about ultra sound and had been exposed to it many times as the first step in the postoperative recuperation process. But I had never had the opportunity to use it outside of the physiotherapist’s clinic, so I never really knew much about the benefits that it offered.
I was introduced to the product; I tried it, and within one week had noticed significant improvement in the swelling in my knee. My range of motion increased, the pain decreased, stiffness and soreness felt like they were a thing of the past. I could really not believe what was happening and how effective a simple device and a simple relaxing treatment could be to deal with a very serious and painful problem. I was delighted and wanted to tell friends who were in the same painful situation as I was. This was a device that would mean so much to so many. I called the company and asked how I could help them spread the word about Sonic Relief.
Now here I am – a spokesperson for the company and happy to recommend ultrasound as an effective treatment for pain and inflammation.
Todd Brooker Biographical Information
- Born November 24, 1959 in Waterloo, Ontario. Learned to ski and race out of Blue Mountain Resort / Toronto Ski Club racing teams
- Member of the Canadian National Ski Team from 1977 until 1987
- Was part of famous ski racing group - the Crazy Canucks - along with teammates Steve Podborski, Ken Read, Dave Irwin and Dave Murray, known for their all or nothing “Go For It” style of skiing.
- Won 3 World Cup Downhill titles:
- Kitzbuhel, Austria 1983
- Aspen, Colorado 1983
- Furano, Japan 1985
- Ranked #1 Downhill Skier in the World by the “International Ski Federation” in 1983 and 1984
- Member of the 1984 Canadian Olympic Team who raced in Sarejevo, Yugoslavia. Finished in 8th place in downhill competition
- Underwent 22 operations due to injuries suffered through racing career including 3 reconstructive knee surgeries and 13 orthroscopic procedures -
- Suffered career ending fall in Kitzbuhel, Austria in January 1987
- Recipient of the Johnny F. Bassett Memorial Award for a Canadian Athlete who represents their country as an Ambassador in Sport
- Raised 4.5 million dollars for Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities through 4 National “Todd Brooker Ski Challenges” from 1986 thru 1997
- Works as the exclusive ski analyst for NBC’s Olympic and World Championship skiing broadcasts – past events include the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games, 2001 and 2003 World Alpine Championship events, 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino – under contract for World Championships and Olympics through 2010
- Since retirement from competition, has worked as color commentator for ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and Turner Sports television in the USA
- Worked as color commentator for Olympic Coverage for TSN in 1988 and CTV in 1992 and 1994 in Norway – Hosted travel show “Passport to Skiing” from 1990 to 1993 – Produced and hosted “Ski Tips” for Coors Light from 1991 – 1994
- Married in 1984, father of 3 girls (including 16 year old twins) resides on a farm west of Thornbury, Ontario