Greetings and thank you for reading our blog. You may be wondering why things have been so silent over the last several months for us and there is good reason for that.
Unfortunately, we will be withdrawing from the 2019 US Championships in Detroit. This decision was not an easy one to make, but was made with our long-term goals in mind. In a year plagued with injuries, it was our toughest season so far; however, it also offered a bounty of opportunities for learning. With that being said, let’s start at the beginning of our tough times this season.
In June, Jessica had a minor injury on a Triple Salchow-Euler-Triple Salchow combination (yes, we were working on these to a varying degree of success). While this minor foot injury was not a big deal, it seemed to be the first domino to fall in our season. Although we were close to getting the elusive catch on our twist before the injury, we couldn’t work on it much going in to Skate Detroit and had completely re-worked it while we were in Montreal. The last few days before Skate Detroit we spent pounding the twist and this unfortunately caused Jessica’s old foot injury to return. It was an extremely hard time for her to train and thus the difficulties we encountered at Skate Detroit were not unexpected. After the competition, Jessica got the same procedure done that she had in the 2016-17 season on her foot (an injection of amniotic fluid along with the doctor purposely damaging her tendon to encourage the body to heal itself). The recovery timetable we were given was three weeks until she was full strength and gave us just the right amount of time to be ready for the challenger in Salt Lake City.
As some skating fans may have noticed, we were initially listed to skate in Salt Lake City… And then we were listed to skate in Nebelhorn Trophy… And Finally, we were listed to skate in Finlandia. Unfortunately, the three-week timetable turned into a lot longer of a recovery than that. With these sorts of cutting-edge procedures, the exact time of recovery is never sure and different in each case. While we didn’t show up to Finlandia totally unprepared, building up consistency after Jessica’s re-injury proved to be difficult. From trouble with her blade mountings, to the return of a foot issue that has been extremely problematic in the past, the season was very challenging for her. On top of that, she has had two cysts in her wrist (one on each side!) to deal with this season, one was in the spring, the other she just got taken care of. However, the reason we are withdrawing from this years’ US Championships is not because of her.
On Wednesday November 28th, less than one week after Thanksgiving, I injured my ankle on a stroking exercise of all things. This came on the heels of a great skating day and at a time where we were finally improving our consistency and getting back to the formula that has made us successful in the past. A slip and a fall jammed my right ankle into the boards and put a tear in my peroneal tendon along with other syndesmotic tears. It didn’t seem so bad at first, and I was in fact surprised when the news came back about the severity of the injury. I got into a boot for a couple of weeks and eventually received the same treatment Jessica did, except I got the (painful) pleasure of being awake during it 😊.
Preparing for the US Championships was sure to be a challenge, I was scheduled to get back on the ice the day after Christmas and we were hoping to make a last-ditch effort to skate in Detroit. Luck, however, was not on our side. On Christmas Eve I rolled my left ankle (not the one that was already injured) and was again in pain. I got in to see the doctor as soon as I could, but it seemed like the writing was on the wall before we even knew the results. My MRI came back on January 2nd with the results showing that I had a tear in one of the same tendons I tore on my right side, along with a small fracture in my talus bone (also in the ankle). I am back in the boot, this time on my left foot, and my physical therapy will now be a 2 for 1 deal 😉.
Although it felt like such a downer at first, we now realize how blessed we are. This is the first US Championships I have missed since 2008 (10 in a row!), and my first major injury since 2004 (my torn labrum at the end of the 2017 season hardly affected me). I am so incredibly lucky to have made it this far with a relatively clean bill of health and on January 14th I will hopefully be ready to step back onto the ice for the first time since November. On top of that, Jessica’s consistency and confidence are at all-time highs; by not having to worry about twists and throws, being able to focus in on the jumps has allowed her to once again realize her strength!
Being off the ice for over a month is an extremely odd feeling and is in fact the longest I have been off the ice since I was 12 years old with a broken ankle. Additionally, I haven’t been able to work wearing the boot and I also can’t work until I am strong enough to skate (as a server, I spend my whole shift on my feet). So, I haven’t been making any money and I haven’t been skating which would usually leave time for school… But, in late August I finally received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (with a minor in Information Systems Management) and, to my surprise, I also graduated Magna Cum Laude! Without work, skating, and school to do, I truly have not had a lot I could do during my injury recovery besides burn through my pockets, head to the gym, and catch up on all the movies and shows I’ve missed out on over the last few years of being busy 24/7.
Taking time off of literally everything was refreshing to say the least, and that’s not to say that I have done nothing over that period off. I’m very proud that I made a speech at city hall to enact real change within my community and improve the lives of real people. It also has made me incredibly eager to get back to work and has rejuvenated my competitive spirits. Jessica and I feel really lucky to start our offseason before anybody else and although we are disappointed not to compete at the US Championships, we understand how blessed we are to be where we are and we’re ready to prove ourselves as contenders in this Olympic cycle.
Thank you again for reading, and we look forward to continuing to blog for you all,