Asked at the national training camp a little more than a week ago what she wanted for herself for this season, Kaetlyn Osmond replied: “It’s to stay away from injuries.”
She should have knocked on wood.
The two-time Canadian champion fractured the fibula in her right leg during practice last Thursday in Edmonton. It was a silly thing. She was working only on choreography, not any dangerous manoeuvres, when she swerved around another skater, caught an edge and fell onto the ice.
Last Friday, she underwent surgery at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton to stabilize the fracture. She was out of hospital on Saturday.
The incident will wipe out Osmond’s fall season. She’s to be off the ice for six weeks, and that means she will miss the Autumn Classic a month from now in Barrie, Ont., and both of her Grand Prix: Skate Canada in Kelowna, B.C. and Trophee Eric Bompard in Bordeaux, France.
Doctors tell her that she will not be able to put any weight on the leg for six weeks. “I’m obviously disappointed to miss the early part of the skating season, but I will look forward to getting back onto the ice and training again,” she said in a prepared release. She hopes to make it to the Canadian championships in Kingston, Ont. in January.
Osmond missed a lot of training time over the summer because she suffered a stress fracture in early July in her left foot. Why did this happen? “It could have been a mixture of things,” she said. “We thought maybe my skates were too narrow for my foot. It could have added to the stress that every time I landed, the foot wasn’t completely supported.”
The injury wasn’t completely healed at the camp and she did run-throughs without jumps. “Once this one is healed, it’s to stay away from injuries,” said the 18-year-old native of Maryland, Nfld. “Really, my goal is to be able to make it to my two Grand Prix this year without having to withdraw.”
Not! Her wishes won’t be granted. Osmond was referring to last year’s stress-fraught season when injuries hampered her summer training, and caused her to pull out after the short program at Skate Canada last year, and also miss her fall season. Does a dark little storm cloud follow her?
Because of her most recent stress fracture, Osmond had spent this past summer working mainly on choreography and trying out some new skills. She wanted to win her third national title, perhaps even put a triple loop in her program for the first time, and get that triple flip – triple toe loop out in a long program. “Hoping those will work out for me and hopefully they will carry me for the rest of the year,” she said.
Last year, Osmond’s problems started with a stress fracture in September. But this season’s stress fracture happened in late-June to early July. “It just took longer to heal,” she said. “I was off the ice for quite a bit of the summer and off-ice for two weeks. Then I skated a month, and took a week off.”
At the camp, she said she was getting used to a new feeling of balance in her skates. She has oddly shaped feet, she admits, with really wide toes and a very narrow heel. And her feet are tiny. She wears size 4 ½ skates; and size five running shoes.
The stress fracture she had this season was an aggravation of the one that plagued her last season. It came back.
“I’m taking things more carefully this year,” she said at the camp. Last year, she had rushed through the injury to prepare for Olympic season. Then she got a second injury. This year, however, the pressure was off. “It’s not a stressful season to begin with,” she said. “It’s not an Olympic year. I’m learning a whole bunch of new things with choreography so I’m taking my time with the healing.”
But this new injury is not a stress fracture. It’s a fracture. And a certain level of frustration must hang like a dark mantle on Osmond’s shoulders, after a career full of injuries.