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

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in Victoria

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Most Read