Injured Reserve: Sean Malto

12.14.13 – Templeton Elliott

     After seeing gruesome photos of Sean Malto’s bloody shoe and hearing all sorts of rumors flying around we thought it’d be good to go straight to the source, find out what really happened, and ask what Sean is doing next. Click through for the full Sean Malto Injured Reserve.
Text By Templeton Elliott
Photography By Jake Wickersham


Can you start by telling me what exactly happened and where all the blood came from?
     I was trying to varial heelflip down this three block into a fountain in KC. We were about to get kicked out so it was my last try. It flipped a little slow and I bailed it, but I bailed a little too late so my back heel landed on my board causing my ankle to completely fold. I felt the roll and the pop and immediately knew that my shit was fucked. Getting to the car, I looked down and blood starting seeping out of every hole in my shoe. That’s when I got extremely scared; I’ve never seen blood from a rolled ankle. My friend Rod and I started to freak out so we went straight to the closest hospital. It’s crazy because I actually didn’t break anything. I guess I just stretched it so far that the skin tore. Not the coolest thing to happen to me the day after Thanksgiving.


So you originally thought, “Really bad rolled ankle, I’ll go home and self-medicate.” Then you only went to the hospital because of the blood. What did the doctor say? Was he impressed that you rolled your ankle in such an extreme way?
     I felt it roll and heard the pop so I thought I for sure broke it. I was hobbling up the hill to go to the hospital anyway. When I saw all the blood I thought that the bone shot through the skin, but no one wanted to look at it. We were all too freaked out to see what was going on. The doctor said he’d never seen the skin break without breaking any bones. I guess my ligaments just gave up on me enough for my ankle to roll that far. I go back Thursday to figure out exactly what ligaments decided to give out.

What are you going to do with all the down time you will have? iPhone games, Xbox, new hobbies?
     The iPhone has pretty much been my life these past few days. I guess it just depends, there’s a bunch of stuff that I would love to do: Learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, finish high school, or take Rick McCrank’s advice and start a non-profit to save the world in the next couple months. But it just all comes down to how motivated I can get while sitting on the couch. That PS4 is pretty easy to waste time on! I’m not a huge gamer normally, but under the circumstances that might change. Especially since I can’t make it out to LA to bro with my friends. Now I’ll link up with them via PS4. Mike Mo, Atiba, and Ako have already hit me up to buy one.

Video games can be heard to resist even when you’re healthy and the weather is nice. I’ve always wondered about pro skateboarder’s medical insurance. Since your job is inherently dangerous is it difficult to find insurance? Is there special insurance for athletes? Are you covered for lost wages since you can’t work for a long time? 
     I just have a standard insurance program. It wasn’t too hard to find, but it’s a low monthly payment with a really high deductible. It basically just helps when you really mess something up, which is perfect for right now. For me and my sponsors, I get paid a monthly salary. That won’t go away when I’m hurt as long as I’m showing a solid effort to get back to skateboarding. NikeSB has been a big help these last few days in talking me through this process and offering their connections for surgery and rehab. I couldn’t ask for a better support group but it’s up to me to take advantage of it. 


Now that you’ve seen a doctor, can you tell me about the diagnosis and the next steps?
     The doctor appointment went well. Basically I just blew out all the ligaments on the lateral side of my ankle. Based on the CT scans there were build ups of calcium deposits and bone spurs that were clearly there prior to me hurting myself, which means my ankle probably wasn’t fully stable in the first place. That being said, the only way to fix it is surgery, and I was already prepared for that news. I knew it was pretty bad right when I rolled it. The doctor said he wanted it to heal a little more so I got put in a hard cast and the surgery is set for the 23rd of December. He said I should be able to walk in five weeks and be fully recovered and skating three to four months after surgery. I felt like that was good news for me. I thought it was going to be more like six to eight months.
     Now the only scary part for me is deciding who does the surgery. I know the doctor I talked to today is fully qualified and I might stick with him, but I don’t want to fall victim to the multiple surgeries because it wasn’t done right the first time. Tomorrow [Friday] I get the full MRI and then I was going to send it out to Nike, a sports doctor in LA, and another orthopedic surgeon in KC to see what they think or if they have any other recommendations. After I find out the surgeon, I just have to get my mind right and be ready to have some serious couch time for the next five weeks until I can start rehab.