Tag Archives: Intact

Video

Weekly Update #30 – Injury Update

Now that Olympic Trials are over, its time for me to recap my crash from a week and a half ago.

As many who read this blog may have heard, I crashed hard in the first A final of the Intact Insurance Short Track Olympic Team Selections. It was a bit of a freak accident. After taking the bell lap in 2nd place, I was rounding the second to last corner when I hit a rut and went down. Had I just fallen by myself, it would have been a routine, although disappointing, crash. Unfortunately though, Charle Cournoyer, who was following a few positions behind me, hit the same rut and went down as well, piling straight into me. My knee went straight into my face and Charle hit the rest of my head as he went into the mats. I’ve posted the video below.

When a skater falls in short track, the first thing you do is a sort of systems check to make sure everything feels like its in one piece. The first thing I noticed was that my face hurt and it felt like my nose was bleeding. As I opened my eyes to check for the blood I expected to be coming from my nose, I was surprised to see an orangish liquid, one that I’ve never seen before, coming out of my nose faster than you want to see. By that time the doctor and medical team had jumped over the boards and were pinning me in place in case of a severe spinal injury. After they checked with me to make sure I was experiencing any tingling in my extremities and that I could move my arms, legs etc, I wanted to get up and off the ice.

Feeling a little woozy once I got off the ice, our team doctors decided that I should really go to the hospital to get a CT scan on my face and skull since I took such a wack to the face and because that orangish fluid can potentially be an indication of skull fracture. This would mean I would have to pull out of the trials for at least the rest of the day. Normally this would be something that would make me mad and I would resist against (pulling out, not precautionary scans), but this time, I didn’t feel like going back on the ice that day. And when I don’t feel like that, I know that theres something serious.

After an awful drive, starting and stopping in rush hour traffic while concussed and nauseous is not fun at all, we got to the hospital. After a relatively quick wait, I received my CT scan and the good news that no fracture was shown. I headed back home with a banging headache and a swollen cheek.

Its my experience with injuries like this during times of competition that getting injured isn’t the hard part. The hard part is waiting to get better while you watch your training partners and friends get ready to continue racing. I wanted to be out there so badly. But each time I tried to run scenarios of when I could get back on the ice and compete, I worked myself up and my headaches got worse. Finally, after being re-evaluated each day and hoping I would magically wake up each morning feeling 100%, we (myself and the team medical staff) made the decision last Thursday that I would pull out from the rest of the Olympic Trials. There was no way I could get on the ice and be ready for the last days of the competition with anything close to my 100% performance level that would be needed to participate, and succeed, in such an elite level competition.

The decision to pull out was both an easy one and a hard one at the same time. Easy because I know that I only have one brain for the rest of my life (although Liam Mcfarlane may argue differently…he’s sure robotics will take over in the not too distant future) and also because I knew that I would potentially be a hazard to not only myself but the other skaters on the ice. And hard because I had worked hard for a long time so that I could perform at my best at the Olympic Trials and prove to myself and others that I was deserving of a spot on the 2014 Canadian Olympic Short Track Team.

So whats next? Well immediately after the crash, my focus turned to getting back to full health. Since Aug 7th, I have seen a very good improvement in my condition. The headaches are subsiding, my neck is feeling slowly better and I feel more myself each day. I’m hoping to get back to some light off ice training sometime this week and maybe back on the ice in a week or so. Of course its all a day to day thing, as I must continue to be symptom free during my return to training. Everyone I have talked to has told me not to push it and come back too early, and I plan on taking that advice, even if its hard to do as I’m chopping at the bit to get back.

On the Olympic qualification side of things, I am lucky to live in a country that leaves space in their selection policy for medical byes. I will have to ask to be selected to the team through this route, based on my performances from last season. Now that the competition is over, Speed Skating Canada will be deliberating this week before an official announcement of the team in the coming days. Having to request a bye is not what I had envisioned, but I am lucky to even still have a chance to potentially qualify.

As always, thanks to my sponsors, SSi Micro, Tait Communications and the Government of the NWT. Thanks as well to everyone who has wished me well over the past few days!

 

Weekly Update #14 World Cup Recap

The first block of World Cups is now done. Sunday, we finished up two weekends of World Cup action in Canada, and it was a great two weekends for several reasons.

First of all it was great because I had some good early season results. The first weekend in Calgary I had a 2nd place in the 1000m to go with m DQ in the 1500m (oops!). Being on the podium in the first weekend of racing was a good feeling, especially since it was my first international race since December of 2011 due to my fractured shoulder. I was quite satisfied with the final especially, as I was among some pretty heavy company. All three of the other skaters in my race had been World Champion at one point. In fact, those three guys have 8 World Championships between them.

From a team perspective, our relay team, me included, went out and beat the World Record on the first day of competition. We always target the relay and it was awesome to get the record back from the Koreans. Unfortunately I fell in the final, which put a bit of a dampen on our spirits, but we were happy to have taken the record and are looking forward to receiving our Brothers of the Wind World Record rings!

I also had good individual results this past weekend here in Montreal. I managed to make the A final for both distances that I skated, which I believe is a first for me. I ended up coming away with a 2nd in the 500 and a 5th in the 1500. I think the highlight of those two races was the fact that the hard work and time I have been investing in my starts from day one of this season is paying off. It was special to be on the podium with my good friend and long time teammate Liam Mcfarlane. We’ve been training together since 2005 and have been through a lot in skating together.

So far this season I have been in an A final in every distance. Consistency is one thing that the best skaters in the world have and I hope that I can keep that consistency across all distances going.

The second thing that made these two weekends great was racing at home. And by home I mean where I always train or have trained (as is the case for Calgary). Don’t worry, Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories will always be my home! I was literally floating the entire week we were in Calgary. I love going back there. Its so much fun to walk the Oval and say hi to literally every second person. Seeing so many athletes from different places and sports all in the same place, all pushing their limits and striving to be the best is what makes the Oval a special place to train.

It also felt like home because I had so many people that came out to cheer me on. I don’t think I’ve ever had my own cheering section, but on the sunday I did. Thanks to my parents and sister, Keith, Sarah, Thompy, Brendan and Rosanna, Linda and Blair, Jim and Jo-ann, Dan and Tara, Shane, Karin and Hannah, Laini and Emily, Ben, Fran and anyone I’m forgetting for coming out. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it up to the stands to say hi to all of you!

Montreal was almost the same too. Our Canadian team took advantage of tough ice conditions that we know so well to achieve 12 podium performances, which is a record haul for us! Again, we had great crowd support, me included. My Dad made the trip out and I had Jess, Michele and Kirstin in my corner all week! It was pretty interesting waking up in your own bed and heading to the same rink I go to everyday, only to find out that a World Cup was taking place.

This post is getting a little long, but I can’t finish without a shout out to the Olympic Oval ice makers. Those guys are absolute masters of their art. The ice in Calgary was unbelievably fast this weekend and they have the World records to prove it. Its the fastest ice in the world and the Short Track record books were rewritten. Thanks guys, you’re doing a great job!

Thanks to Oakley Canada for the new glasses and to our team sponsor Auclair for the new gloves!

We recently installed new contrast bathes at our training center. Our team sponsor Intact decided to give us new bath robes to celebrate. Thank Intact, #1 sponsor of speedskating in Canada

I’ve posted a few of my race videos from the past two weeks in the video tab above, so take a week if you’d like!