American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

Injury Update: Greenwood-Wharton Makes Tournament Comeback


Injury update: Brittany Greenwood-Wharton makes tournament comeback after major knee surgery

American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

“On the water, in my happy place” (image: @focus.501)

By Jack Burden

American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton marked her triumphant return to tournament action this past weekend at the Masters Qualifying Series, showcasing an impressive performance by jumping 49.7 meters (163 feet), to clinch a place in the 2024 Masters. After nearly two years away from competitive skiing, Brittany demonstrated her resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

“The last 1.5 years have been wild mentally and physically. Performing like myself again feels amazing,” shared Brittany, who celebrated a significant milestone in her recovery journey earlier this spring after completing a half marathon.

The Arkansas native’s journey back to the water has been long and hard. A jump crash at the 2022 California Pro Am left her with severe injuries, including a torn ACL, torn meniscuses, torn posterolateral corner, damaged cartilage, and a fractured femur. Despite these daunting challenges, Brittany remained undeterred in her pursuit of returning to the sport she loves.

“My last set before California Pro Am. We knew something was wrong with my knee. I was only able to jump every few days and maybe tolerate 1-2 jumps per set. But this is what I love so I fought through,” she recalled.

Complications during major knee surgery and ACL reconstruction further hindered her recovery, with the development of blood clots prolonging her rehabilitation process. “We are almost there, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a freaking year. 1 new ACL, 2 fixed meniscus, 2 blood clots, 1 cartilage defect. 365 days of thinking about how to keep getting stronger and grinding. 365 days of a lot of support from friends and family. Feeling so thankful and overwhelmed,” she shared last year.

Prior to her injury, Brittany had established herself as one of the most consistent performers in women’s jump, with multiple podium finishes and membership in the exclusive 180′ club (55 meters). Her return to competition signals a welcome resurgence for the talented athlete, who is eager to continue pushing the boundaries of her sport.

The women’s jump field has been marred by injuries in recent years, with Brittany, along with Lauren Morgan, Taryn Grant, and Valentina Gonzalez, missing substantial portions of the 2023 season. Additionally, world record holder Jacinta Carroll took time off for the birth of her first child before retiring from professional competition earlier this year. The challenges posed by injuries underscore the sport’s physical demands and the tenacity required of its athletes.