Radford was skating with a herniated disc at world figure skating championships

MRI reveals Radford has a herniated disc

A week and a half after a baffling injury cost Eric Radford a legitimate shot at a third consecutive world title, an MRI revealed the culprit: a herniated disc.

Radford and pairs partner Meagan Duhamel wound up seventh at the world figure skating championships earlier this month in Helsinki, after Radford experienced perplexing numbness and loss of control in his right hip.

He was diagnosed with a herniated disc at his L2 vertebra in his lower back — compressing the nerve to his hip — news he took with mixed feelings.

Although more serious than expected, knowing what was wrong was “a huge relief,” Radford said.

“The two weeks or so following worlds were extremely difficult, especially emotionally and mentally. I’m the type of person, I don’t like wondering, and not knowing,” Radford said. “As soon as I had the MRI and they knew what was wrong, I came up with a plan, it was: OK, I have a target, I can start getting better now.

“There was a lot of uncertainty, I felt extremely lost.”

The six-time Canadian champions immediately scrapped their plans to compete at last week’s World Team Trophy in Tokyo, where Canada finished fourth. Radford, a native of Balmertown, Ont., took a full three-and-a-half weeks off.

In the meantime, Duhamel practised on her own. 

The two are back skating as part of the Stars on Ice tour which opens Friday in Halifax. The tour stops in 12 Canadian cities, wrapping up May 18 in Vancouver. 

“I was unsure whether I’d be able to do the tour, but I’m really happy I decided to give it a try, because even within the first two days being here, working with the physio, just slowly getting back into it, I’ve noticed a big improvement,” Radford said. “I’m so lucky because on tour I have a physio that I can see three times a day. And I’m lucky that I can still do the tour but heal along the way.”

The two will then take a couple of weeks off before preparation begins in earnest for the 2018 Olympic season. The two-time world champs are expected to retire after the Pyeongchang Games. 

“(My back) only needs to last me eight more months,” Radford said, with a half-hearted laugh.

The two both called the days immediately after Helsinki “intense.” There were a lot of long, vocal meetings.

“We were a little bit frantic, ‘What do we do? What do we need to do so the judges view us as a top team again?'” Duhamel said. “Our minds were racing.”  

“It’s difficult,” Radford added. “Like any sort of relationship when you go through something difficult, it’s straining.”

They’ve decided to return to a more familiar musical style for their Olympic campaign, after skating to Seal’s “Killer” this past season.

“We wanted to be different, we tried it, it didn’t work. Lesson learned,” said Duhamel, a native of Lively, Ont. “Next year we’re going to do what we can do well and what we’re comfortable with, because when you go outside of your comfort zone with the choreography and the music it also makes the technical elements more uncomfortable as well.”

Duhamel said if there’s a silver lining from Radford’s injury, it’s a renewed focus on their off-ice training.

“We’ll maybe double up on our off-ice type of training, because we aren’t young to be doing what we’re doing (Radford is 32, Duhamel is 31), and it is important to keep our bodies in the best shape as possible for the next 10 months,” she said.

“Our goal is start the season strong and end the season strong and be in the best shape of our lives. Because this is it. It’s all done after this.”

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated Radford experienced numbness in his left hip.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Barb Desjardins clinches another win, will serve fourth term as Esquimalt mayor

Three new councillors will join three veterans at Esquimalt Township council

EDITORIAL: Voters across Greater Victoria embrace progressive ideas, new course in regional governance

Election results also reveal regional fissure between core and outer communities

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Voters in Saanich and Victoria support creation of citizens’ assembly on amalgamation

Group will continue to keep pressure on Victoria and Saanich councils after amalgamation referendum

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

UPDATE: Lisa Helps re-elected as mayor of Victoria

Nine people were seeking the mayor’s seat for the City of Victoria and 29 candidates hoped to be chosen for council

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Most Read