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Dr. Investigates Figure Skating Dangers

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Sugar

    Sugar Well-Known Member

  2. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sugar - this is significant. If there is a chance that extreme spinning and long-term damage to the athlete are related, I'm glad that someone reputable is looking into it now. I hope that at some point sooner rather than later there's an answer and that the hypothesis here is proven or disproven conclusively so coaches can adapt training programs appropriately. I also hope that the research is financially supported to its conclusion.
  3. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    Eh, with so many figure skaters in the world practicing spinning for decades, if spinning caused serious problems on a regular basis, I think we'd see more of a connection and a lot more former skaters having issues.
  4. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

    I read Lucinda Ruh's book, and I totally get her medical problems with spinning, but didn't she do a whole lot more spinning than your average competitor?
  5. julianaqtpi

    julianaqtpi New Member

    I think the hypothesis the doctor has (using my scientifical terms here :D) is baloney, frankly. Yeah, Lucinda did a crap load more spinning than the average skater, but still, maybe it was some other medical condition causing those problems. Total baloney, there would be a lot more cases about this if it was for real.

    I did have a friend who quit skating because she got headaches when she was spinning, but I also know that she wasn't enjoying skating that much anymore and it may have been her brain making things up to provide her an excuse to quit. I don't know for sure, they thought it was the lights in the rink b/c it never happened at one of the other rinks my club skates at.

    Anyways, I think it's all complete baloney.
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Ruh probably did more spinning than other skaters but her spins were also very very fast - more so than other skaters. And I wonder if it would be more the parts of the ears that deal with balance than the brain.

    I think you could check hundreds of skaters from over the years and get a good sample.
  7. nashvilledancer

    nashvilledancer Active Member

    Ruh also mentions the unusually quick acceleration she got on her spins, during position changes, as causing her problems (so, not just the amount of spinning).
  8. Rochelle

    Rochelle Active Member

    Ruh was an exceptionally talented spinner whose spinning speed, acceleration, and force probably at doubled / tripled the speed/acceleration/force of most of the world's top senior level spinners. It's not surprising that could cause some health problems... but perhaps an entirely different skater (different genetics, build, health concerns, etc.) executing the same spins may not have been impacted in the same way.

    I'd really be interested to learn the results of this, particularly if a wide and proper sample is taken for the study. I'd like to see some of the best spinners of this current generation (Lambiel, Cizny, Zhang, Bielmann, etc.), as well as long time performers such as Kurt, Scott, Katia, etc. and run-of-the-mill average skaters.

    However, I don't think that any outcome of the study would result in changes in the way skaters learn spins, practice spins, or execute their spins in competition -- in the name of safety.

    I am FAR more concerned about the injuries caused by the current training methods of double, triple, and quadruple jumps... as well as the lifts, twists, and throw jumps of pairs... and the gumby lifts of ice dance... and the flexibility of some spin positions. I see a far greater need to focus on the safety of learning and training those elements, than I do on limiting the amount of spins / speed of spins one does.

    I occasionally get headaches from spinning (particularly laybacks or any layover positions) -- but they're always migraine headaches. Very distinctive headaches. And they're directly due to sensitively to light, one of my major migraine triggers. And I have in the past / still do somewhat spin fast enough to often pop surface-level blood vessels in my hands and around my eyes. I'm not that fast of a spinner, by any means. (On par with the average Juvenile / Intermediate level child/teen skater, I'd guess). But I've never had any other concerns / health effects from spins, nor known anyone who has without some already preexisting health conditions factoring in.
  9. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    In an interview, with Manelywoman, I beleive, Lucinda said her spinning caused concussions.
  10. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Exactly. Ruh took spinning to an extreme, and even then, the problems she had could be partly attributed to genes or her the way her particular brain is wired.

    Pairs skaters are far more at risk of brain injuries than singles who spin, IMO.
  11. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    I think Ruth said in her book that she was spinning several hours a day. I don't know anyone else who would spin that much. Even elite skaters don't spin for that much.
  12. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I think that is what she blames for them, but there is no definitive proof- probably a doctor who supports her on it though. It seems like spinning would be difficult to cause a concussion because the brain is fairly centered and there would be outward forces in all directions. I can believe rapid acceleration on position changes though... But Ruh is a HUGE exception. We haven't heard (m)any other skaters make this claim. I also don't think this is a danger to the unknowns- those who are injured in other ways before they make it to the top. But repeated jump training and insane flexibility requirements likely are.

    That's what I expected this Dr. to be looking into- the hip damage done by jumping and the back damage done by spin positions. Those effect way more skaters, and at lower levels too.
  13. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    There might be something to this. I definitely have had concussion-like symptoms from spinning when I was skating. I wasn't ever a super competitive skater and was an average spinner at best as a Novice lady. However, by that time I had also had multiple concussions from other things so I was probably more susceptible.

    This is probably good advice for training any element. Everything in balance.

    And as others have said, Lucinda Ruh is a VERY extreme case.
  14. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    Just FYI, those are also symptoms of post-concussive syndrome. I'm not saying that spinning causes concussions, because I have no idea if they can, but if they could then migraine-like headaches could be an indicator.
  15. Rochelle

    Rochelle Active Member

    Understandable. Any skater who does get notable headaches of any kind from spinning (or anything else in life) should have them looked into by a doctor, regardless. There are several possible causes for headaches of all kinds.
  16. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Scott Davis was an exceptional spinner who started suffering from vertigo, his spinning was never the same after that, plus his 3 axel disappeared. He went from 2 time national champion to never making the podium again.

    I read somewhere that he used to get small red dots on his arms from the capillaries bursting and that he and his friends used to compete during practice to see who could get the most. I could see where that could cause damage elsewhere.

    I don't think most skaters focus on spinning the way Ruh did. Especially as a pro, it was really her whole program.
  17. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Ronnie Robertson of the US also did the same thing. He was the world's fastest spinner when he was a competitive skater.
  18. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    He was the 'special guest' on an episodoe of the original Mickey Mouse club that happens to be on the DVD we have (something like "five classic episodes") and O. M. G. On the scratch spin alone I would bet he STILL is one of the fastest ever.

    The spots are called 'petechiae.' A couple from a high-stress event aren't a big deal. I wouldn't be TRYING to raise them. (Also, speaking from experience, if you find yourself getting lots without knowing why, see a doctor. It could be bad.)
  19. iarispiralllyof

    iarispiralllyof Active Member

    the article clearly states that the doctor doesn't think spinning in general can cause harm, but that research is warranted to figure out whether there needs to be a line/boundary set in order to prevent potential harm. i see no problem with this
  20. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

    A former French skater, from the 60ies AFAIR, usede to spin very fast. She usually got bruises at ther elbows.
  21. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Seems spinning could cause small brain hemmrhoges (spelling) which cumulatively could cause problems in later life or even earlier. I also wonder if injuries, though not as severe, similar to those caused by shaken baby syndrome might occur . An increasing number of football players are suffering problems in later life seemingly from the concussions they received while playing. All that being said the speed at which most skaters spin doesn't seem likely to cause any great harm.
  22. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    Skating is inherently dangerous. My massage therapist says I have chronic whiplash due to hard falls. I would probably fail the NASA astronaut physical as would most competitive skaters!
  23. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    I was surprised to read the article, as it was about concussion/brain injury. I'd assumed they'd be talking about permanent back injuries due to the positions. The problems I have with my own back are due to over-flexibility caused by gymnastics, according to medical pros. When I see some of the skaters doing that "pearl" type of spin, I just cringe.

    The concussion angle is an interesting one. We'll have to see how it plays out with more study.
  24. jan

    jan New Member

    Ruh had trouble getting ice time when she started skating so she used to go to public skating and practice only spins...This was done for years.
  25. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Lucinda trained in the United States (with Ness) and Canada during her career, as well as Japan and China. She only lived in Switzerland, where ice time was limited at one time, at the end of her career.