May 1, 2012
European Shake-Up: Jenny Jacobsen Sidelined by Injury
By Hilary Achauer

"I will not be able to compete at Regionals, but I would rather get well and be able to train and maybe compete next year again."


Jenny Jacobsen first felt the pain in her back about six weeks ago. Sweden’s Jacobsen, a 2011 CrossFit Games competitor, was just starting to ramp up her training in preparation for the European Regional. She placed 8th in her region after this year’s Open, and was looking forward to another shot at the CrossFit Games.

At first, Jacobsen didn’t worry about the pain in her back. “I felt stiff in my hamstrings and my legs were cramping when I was rowing,” she says. I could still workout, so I didn’t think about it that much. I did my mobility and it got better for the moment.”

Jacobsen has had issues with her back before. She hurt the right side of her back three years ago when she doing deadlifts, but she rested and it got better, so she never had it checked out.

On April 1 the pain got worse. “After doing Diane, which is one of my favorite WODs, I felt so much pain in my lower back, and the cramp was horrible,” she says. Despite the pain, Jacobsen got a PR, with a time of 3:15. 

After that workout Jacobsen couldn’t drive her car or lean forward. She took an ice bath when she got home and didn’t work out for a few days. It didn’t get better. Jacobsen went to the chiropractor and he told her to get an MRI, because he couldn’t find any injury. Jacobsen was convinced it wasn’t anything serious, but she followed his orders got an MRI scan on Monday, April 23.

“I called the doctor on Wednesday morning [April 25] when I was in my car on my way to work. When he told me that I had a herniated disc, I felt like I lost a piece of my identity. I have been competing the last four years, and I really love it,” Jacobsen says.

The doctor said it would take three to four months to heal, and so Jacobsen made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2012 European Regional competition.

She has been preparing herself for this competition since last year, and Jacobsen saw this as her last chance to qualify as an individual to the Games.

“I don’t think I pushed myself to hard,” she says. “I’m not a doctor, but I think the injury has been there for a while, and since the training volume increased, it made it worse.”

Jacobsen can still do CrossFit, but she is avoiding heavy deadlifts and squats until she heals. Jacobsen’s name is added to the list of European competitors who have had to bow out due to injury this year, including Mikko Salo, Tuomas Vainio, Sam Briggs, Helga Torfadottir, and Elvar Por Karlsson. 

Mikko Aronpaa and Annie Thorisdottir will be the only 2011 European Games qualifiers to return to the Regional. 

Despite this frustrating setback, Jacobsen maintains a positive attitude. She is part of the CrossFit Headquarters Level 1 team in Europe, and her first trip will be in June. “I will not be able to compete at Regionals, but I would rather get well and be able to train and maybe compete next year again,” Jacobsen said. “And if I know myself, I will.”