When Tanja Poutiainen-Rinne suffered an injury to her left knee in 2013 she went to Croatia to work on her comeback. The former Finnish alpine skier succeeded and was able to ski at a high level for one more year. Even since her time at the Terme Selce Health and Sports Centre she dreamed of starting her own injury rehabilitation facility in Lapland. In 2019 Poutiainen-Rinne made her dream come true when the Comeback Centre in Rovaniemi was founded. Now her goal is to help people from over all over the world recover from their injuries, while enjoying their holiday in Lapland.

Poutiainen-Rinn is Finland’s most successful alpine ski racer, with a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics as her biggest accomplishment. During her career she also faced injuries: two tibia fractures and a torn ACL. She went to Croatia to recover from her severe knee injury and points to the method of treating injuries at the Terme Selce Health and Sports Centre as the reason why she was able to make a comeback at the highest level at the age of 33. “I spend a total of eight weeks at the facility in Croatia. My time there was really intense, but very helpful. There were physiotherapists, doctors, coaches and all kinds of specialists under the same roof. From the morning till the evening I worked on my recovery. There was always somebody helping me. The recovery process was very effective.” 

After her time in Croatia Poutiainen-Rinn wondered why there wasn’t such a facility in Finland. “We are well known for our medical knowledge, good physiotherapists and physicians and high-skilled coaches. But there isn’t a place where all of these professionals meet.” 

So, after her career ended in 2014, she went on to pursue her dream: built a injury rehabilitation centre in Lapland, the place where she comes from. “I realized everything that I would need for the centre was already in Rovaniemi: great sports facilities, wonderful nature, good infrastructure and well-educated doctors and physiotherapists”, says Poutiainen-Rinn.

Attract people from all over the world 

It took her a couple of years, but in 2019 the Comeback Centre was founded. Athletes and people from Finland now come to the centre for their recovery. The next step for Poutiainen-Rinn is to attract people from all over the world. “If I had to go from Finnish Lapland to Croatia for my rehabilitation, it means other athletes from different countries have to travel abroad as well. First, we try to get awareness in nearby countries such as Russia, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic countries. The next years we would like to invest more time in social media, visit seminars and do some commercial advertisement to promote the Comeback Centre.” 

Work together with tourism industry

Poutiainen-Rinn also sees opportunities in working together with the tourism industry. Just as the centre in Croatia gives a modern dimension to health and tourism, Poutiainen-Rinn thinks she can do the same with the Comeback Centre. “People who got seriously injured and always dreamed of going to Lapland, can combine holiday with their injury rehabilitation . They can focus on recovering, while spending time with their family. In the future I hope we can work more with companies in Lapland that are active in the tourism sector. There are still so many opportunities for us. I really believe the Comeback Centre has something unique and I would like everyone who need to go into a rehabilitation process to experience this.”

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