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Thread: Injuries & Ills: 2013-14

  1. #61
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    This is a young person's game. It seems like it is just not possible to subject your body to that kind of punishment for a decade.
    The reigning ladies world champion might dispute that, MM.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Alissa. While I hope to see her back on the ice, the first priority has to be for her to get better and be healthy.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    The reigning ladies world champion might dispute that, MM.
    Maybe so.. but considering she's had her own share of injuries in the past and she took most of this season off - it's not exactly as if she's been out there proving that it's possible to stay on top for so long.

  3. #63
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahspins View Post
    Maybe so.. but considering she's had her own share of injuries in the past and she took most of this season off - it's not exactly as if she's been out there proving that it's possible to stay on top for so long.
    I'm just addressing the conventional wisdom that skating is for the youngsters, and the older competitors are unlikely to succeed. The last two ladies to win Worlds were veteran competitors in their mid-twenties. Kostner has been competing internationally at the senior level since the days of 6.0, and won her first Worlds medal in 2005. Akiko Suzuki is 27. Daisuke Takahashi is 26, Robin Szolkowy is the oldest skater currently competing, Fabian Bourzat is the oldest ice dancer. That's not to say that the wear and tear of a competitive career can't have its effects; we've indeed seen it with Kostner, with Czisny, with Plushenko, with Pang and Tong, and many others... but injuries affect a lot of skaters. Patrick Chan's most serious health issue so far in his career was a torn muscle at the age of 18. Tessa Virtue's compartmental syndrome was in evidence early on. Yagudin was done at the age of 22, and not by choice. Laura Lepisto's final competition took place before she turned 22, again not by choice.

    The point is, it's a difficult sport, and a lot of things figure into that - age, conditioning, technique, genetics, luck... so I just don't feel comfortable attributing Czisny's unfortunate injury to any one thing. All I can do is wish her the best in the future, regardless of whether it is on or off the ice.

    On to a related topic, and I hope this is okay to post here: my friend and co-blogger, a very recreational adult skater, was herself recently diagnosed with a hip condition. Her most recent blog post (written before Czisny was injured) takes a look at what elite and recreational skaters deal with when confronted with such injuries and their implications. I normally don't link to our blog here, but I felt that this specific post was a good fit for the current discussion.

  4. #64
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    On to a related topic, and I hope this is okay to post here: my friend and co-blogger, a very recreational adult skater, was herself recently diagnosed with a hip condition. Her most recent blog post (written before Czisny was injured) takes a look at what elite and recreational skaters deal with when confronted with such injuries and their implications. I normally don't link to our blog here, but I felt that this specific post was a good fit for the current discussion.
    My heart goes out to your friend.

    To me, the most relevant point is this. Anyone can suffer an accident which might turn out to have long-term effects. Anyone can have an unknown congenital weakness (like Yagudin) that can cut short a career.

    But suppose you are a 15-year-old skater who does 50 triple loops a day in practice, 300 days a year, for ten years. You risk spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

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    Remember how old Tara was when she had to stop skating competitively. And poor Naomi Nari Nam, the brevity of whose career I still regret.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Remember how old Tara was when she had to stop skating competitively. And poor Naomi Nari Nam, the brevity of whose career I still regret.
    Here is a brief Q&A by Tara last year, where she says that at age 18 she underwent surgery for a torn labrum (same as Michelle Kwan and Alissa Czisny), after having the condition go undiagnosed for "four or five years"(!) Following surgery she suffered from deep vein thrombosis (blod clots in her legs). Now she is advocating awareness of this common complication of surgery.

  7. #67
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    But suppose you are a 15-year-old skater who does 50 triple loops a day in practice, 300 days a year, for ten years. You risk spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair.
    That's true. Training, and sustained careers in elite sports, are hard on the body, and the damage can manifest itself at a young age if you're doing a lot of repetitions of something that puts a lot of stress on your body. Olympia mentioned Tara Lipinski, and you have high school kids getting Tommy John surgery. That's serious stuff.

    The question is how far and how long athletes should continue to push themselves. I don't have an answer to that, but if one is to achieve anything in sport, sometimes you do have to push yourself to the limit of your endurance, and it's not always easy to tell when your cross the line from the limits to past them. From other accounts I've read, I suspect my friend is right when she says that denial is a potent aphrodisiac. Ignoring pain or pushing through it is something many athletes are taught to do - no pain, no gain, etc.; we just saw Robert Griffin III suffer a serious injury that might have been preventable, while conversely, the Washington Nationals last season had the good sense and courage to shut down Stephen Strassburg to protect his surgically repaired arm. And there was plenty of criticism of that decision. How far do we want athletes to go in order to entertain us? But OTOH, is it our place to tell them what decisions they should make about their lives?

    Again, no answers to any of this.

  8. #68
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    Yeah, you're right, Buttercup. There are questions but no answers. In the case of Tara Lipinski, by all reports it was she who insisted on practicing that bone-damaging triple-triple many times a day, not her coach or her parents. Sports are dangerous, but inactivity is more dangerous, as we see over and over in this country.

    It's an imperfect world, alas. Poor Alissa. And Jason and Yuka must be rethinking every decision they've made this season.

  9. #69
    Keeper of the Kweens OGM. MK's Winter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    That's true. Training, and sustained careers in elite sports, are hard on the body, and the damage can manifest itself at a young age if you're doing a lot of repetitions of something that puts a lot of stress on your body. Olympia mentioned Tara Lipinski, and you have high school kids getting Tommy John surgery. That's serious stuff.

    The question is how far and how long athletes should continue to push themselves. I don't have an answer to that, but if one is to achieve anything in sport, sometimes you do have to push yourself to the limit of your endurance, and it's not always easy to tell when your cross the line from the limits to past them. From other accounts I've read, I suspect my friend is right when she says that denial is a potent aphrodisiac. Ignoring pain or pushing through it is something many athletes are taught to do - no pain, no gain, etc.; we just saw Robert Griffin III suffer a serious injury that might have been preventable, while conversely, the Washington Nationals last season had the good sense and courage to shut down Stephen Strassburg to protect his surgically repaired arm. And there was plenty of criticism of that decision. How far do we want athletes to go in order to entertain us? But OTOH, is it our place to tell them what decisions they should make about their lives?

    Again, no answers to any of this.
    This is a very good question. I would even add Yuna Kim to that equation for she has suffered with back injuries in the past. I used to to play soccer, softball, ballet, jazz, and skate. I was 14 when I suffered temporary paralysis from a sports injury. After 18 months of injury rehabilitation I attempted once again to do all of those things. I was done doing any sport or activity by 15 due to chronic pain. I am 30 now and have stenosis, arthritis, and bone spurs. My heart breaks for Alyssa, her recovery is not going to be easy and her attempt at one last Olympics is more than likely finished. My hope for her is that she can reflect on her career and be happy. She has accomplished so much and despite the skate she had at Nationals 2010 she was able to pull it together for following year and have brilliant year. I hope she recovers soon!

  10. #70
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    And poor Naomi Nari Nam, the brevity of whose career I still regret.
    For folks who weren't watching U.S. figure skating in 1999, here is Naomi at age 13. (I thought she was going to beat Michelle with this performance. )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S7EEHAM6nU

    In 2001 she withdrew from Nationals with a stress fracture in her hip. In 2004 it was operated on when it didn't heal itself by rest. That was the end of her singles career.

  11. #71
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I am sorry for your travails, MK's Winter.

  12. #72
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    Don't forget that Todd Eldridge also had hip replacement surgery in 2012. Hips and skaters are not friends!

  13. #73
    Keeper of the Kweens OGM. MK's Winter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I am sorry for your travails, MK's Winter.
    Thanks MM! I manage well with physical therapy exercises. Doctors are quick to give anyone a pill anymore. That's another scary thing about skaters and chronic injuries...

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK's Winter View Post
    Thanks MM! I manage well with physical therapy exercises. Doctors are quick to give anyone a pill anymore. That's another scary thing about skaters and chronic injuries...
    I'm glad to hear you have ways of managing your condition. I know that a lot of alternative therapies and exercise systems have been brought to bear on pain management these days, to avoid overuse of medication. I wish we could protect all people from such extensive injuries, especially young children, but it's just one more thing in life that's often out of our hands.
    Last edited by Olympia; 01-13-2013 at 08:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sillylionlove View Post
    Don't forget that Todd Eldridge also had hip replacement surgery in 2012. Hips and skaters are not friends!
    IIRC, Todd had congenital issues as well--one leg was slightly shorter than the other, so he wore a lift in his skate. Don't know if that had any bearing on his hip issue, though.

    This is totally pie-in-the-sky, but . . . maybe the next era of sports medicine should be high-tech preventative medicine. Routinely checking high level athletes every year for developing weaknesses and compensating with exercises to strengthen those areas; reducing the number of repeats of skills that affect those areas until the weakness is dealt with; checking for congenital issues that can either be compensated for or, if unfixable, signal that the athlete might be better off pursuing other activities. A high-tech version of "train smart, not hard," in other words. Technology is used now for monitoring athletes' conditioning and training, so why couldn't it be used for injury prevention?

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