American Figure Skater Crashes Headfirst Into The Ice, Referee Allows Her To Continue

Karen-W

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I decided to time what happened. From the time Ashley falls to the time she is back on her feet is less than 10 seconds. So much happens in those 9 seconds. We have the benefit of a camera focused on the skaters. The coaches and judges and medical personnel are at the boards. I'm not sure how much they could really see or how fast they would have been able to be aware of it. By the time it sunk in that they "knew" something should be done, she was already skating.

When I time the awful fall of Totmianina and Marinin, it is a full 9 seconds before he even gets to her and it's clear she is not going to get up. It is over 20 seconds before the coach gets to them.

I don't know if I would have realized the problem, had the thought process, and actually been able to do something in those 9 seconds. I would want to think I could - but I probably would have taken longer.
Nope, not buying that argument. The referee has a better view of what is going on than those of us at home watching since the referee is, you know, sitting there rinkside with the rest of the judging panel. If I can know, the moment she stands up and starts to skate her program again, that the whistle should have been blown and the program stopped then the referee should also have had at least that amount of level-headedness and wits about him to recognize the same. Refs have the same, sometimes less time, in football, to make the decision to stop the clock and require the player to be evaluated. This isn't rocket science here. There is no "oh, what should I do?" handwringing about it. It is purely a matter of training and education on the topic and the ISU is woefully behind when it comes to current medical procedures with respect to concussions and injuries on the field of play.
 

misskarne

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In all honesty, shouldn't the coach have been obliged by rules to stop it?

Coaches can't stop a program. But a referee can. We've seen it before for untied bootlaces and such.

I don't think so... Surely a 24-year old elite athlete knows her body and self and if she can get up, move and continue to skate, nobody should stop her.

Oh, why am I not surprised that you seem to think this is no big deal.

Ask the NHL players who can't do anything but lie 24h a day in a dark room because they did not stop playing while concussed. They don't live happily after I can tell you that.

We could ask Joshua Farris, who really ought to be the USFS poster boy for why you don't rush back from concussions and the long-term consequences of doing so.

Honestly more shocking to me was that Tim lifted her and the way he lifted her - by the back of her head / neck! #1 rule with potential spinal injury is do not move the victim. Had her injury been more serious his actions could have made it even worse. I'm sure he meant no harm but USFS and other federations need to educate skaters about appropriate response to accidents of this nature.

I feel so bad for Tim and sad that people are trying to cast blame on him or say he did wrong. He was clearly completely freaked out, in shock, panicking and full of adrenaline. He wasn't in any shape to be making decisions. He probably just freaked out so hard he forgot all the spiel about head/spinal injuries.

Ashley's update on the matter:
Instagram post

Don't blame her coaches, Tim, her parents - I agree. But sorry, Ashley, the referee was derelict in her duty and absolutely needs to be brought to account for that.

By the time it sunk in that they "knew" something should be done, she was already skating.

At which point the referee could still have blown the whistle.

I think there needs to be a rule, and I think it can be kept fairly simple:

If a skater's head hits the ice, program is stopped IMMEDIATELY. Skater must then proceed if able to be assessed by a medical professional. If cleared, skater can resume program from point of impact with no penalty. If not cleared, skater must not continue and is considered withdrawn.

Done.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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I feel so bad for Tim and sad that people are trying to cast blame on him or say he did wrong. He was clearly completely freaked out, in shock, panicking and full of adrenaline. He wasn't in any shape to be making decisions. He probably just freaked out so hard he forgot all the spiel about head/spinal injuries.
I'm not casting blame on him and can understand why he may have freaked out but it doesn't change the fact that his response was terrifying. Thankfully nothing adverse happened but a good outcome would be for everyone to learn from this situation.
 

Willin

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IMO, neither rule goes far enough. There shouldn't be any "opinion" or "feels" about it. Very clearly, Ashley hit her head and at that point the program SHOULD have been stopped by the referee. It wasn't until the sports' governing bodies made the rules about medical treatment of head injuries crystal clear that things really began to change in sports like football and hockey. There has been a perceptible shift in the culture of those sports in the last five years, as noted in one of the other discussions about this accident and the referee's inaction yesterday, toward concussions and immediate examination of the athlete. I don't expect figure skating to necessarily be at the vanguard of this topic but with some of the horrific injuries we have seen, especially to the head and in pairs skating in particular, it certainly appears that skating is way behind. The rules need to be changed so that it is mandatory that the program be stopped. And, honestly, when two skaters crash into each other during warm up or official practice time and a head injury is suspected a la Hanyu, the referee should probably also be empowered to prevent a skater from taking the ice until they have received medical clearance.
ITA. There should be a strict rule:
-If a skater hits their head/neck the program must be stopped.
-If a skater lies on the ice with no movement for any reason the program should be stopped.
-If a skater has trouble standing back up the program should be stopped.
Especially with head injuries, many series consequences do not show up for 24-48 hours, and although it sucks for the skater, it would be best to disqualify them or auto-WD them from competition if their head hits the ice in order to ensure nothing else happens or they don't do anything to further injure themselves.
For the last point I think at the very least an independent (NOT team) medical evaluation should occur before the skater is allowed to return to the ice.

Also complete and total agreement with that last point: the referee or a medical professional should be allowed to ban a skater from competing unless it's certain they're healthy. For concussions you'd have a 24-48 ban on ice time, for suspected joint/spine there should be something like a clean imaging report presented. Stuff like that. There's no reason to let these people compete unless we're sure they're healthy enough.

I feel so bad for Tim and sad that people are trying to cast blame on him or say he did wrong. He was clearly completely freaked out, in shock, panicking and full of adrenaline. He wasn't in any shape to be making decisions. He probably just freaked out so hard he forgot all the spiel about head/spinal injuries.

Don't blame her coaches, Tim, her parents - I agree. But sorry, Ashley, the referee was derelict in her duty and absolutely needs to be brought to account for that.
ITA - Yes, what Tim did was technically wrong - very wrong - but it's probably just simple ignorance. Most people don't know that you're not supposed to do that. And, like you said, in a panic he might not remember it. I don't think he really did anything wrong that he would have known was wrong.

I also agree that the ref should take a good share of the blame. Yeah the ref isn't a medical professional, but I'm pretty sure just about anyone (even anti-western medicine people) could've told you you should've stopped the program regardless of medical training.
 

Frida80

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The video now has 372,000 views! That's higher than any other skater that his weekend! It's probably gone viral!

Well the good news about this attention is ISU will have to address this. I hope they make some emergency decision to protect skaters at times like this.
 

Bonita

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Tim was obviously devastated and she got hurt, and I feel horrible for them. Sick of people trying to find the blame person here. The ref, the coach, the skaters, the parents. Very quick turnaround time, not much time to think and she skated until the end, which I couldn't believe she did.

I was skating one time with blood pouring down my leg and had no idea until a friend said my tights were all bloody. It's called adrenaline.
 

Tinami Amori

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Oh, why am I not surprised that you seem to think this is no big deal.
Her body told her "it is no big deal" and her reflexes and brain processed it.. But thank you for spending time and effort on keeping track of how i think.:rofl:
 

Twizzler

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Aren’t her parents their coaches? I can’t believe that they would let her continue- doesn’t matter if she’s an adult. She’s still their child and no skating performance is worth risking her health or potentially her life!!!! What were they thinking???
 

Skittl1321

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Her body told her "it is no big deal" and her reflexes and brain processed it.. But thank you for spending time and effort on keeping track of how i think.:rofl:

When I broke my neck, I was laying paralyzed in the dirt for over 20 minutes waiting for paramedics. I have very little memory of the wait, no memory of the ambulance ride, almost no memory of the time in the ER until after my surgery. My boyfriend told me when I was face down in the dirt I said I had the wind knocked out of me and just needed a second. I was unaware I could not move any part of my body.

I do remember insisting in the ER I was fine, that I needed to go home and study. My wrist hurt, and I thought maybe I had broken that. (It turns out it was a nerve reaction from where my bone hit my spinal cord.)

My point: people with very serious injuries are often not able to assess themselves.

Watching the video, it seems like when they started again, Tim asked her if she wanted to keep going. They had a moment face to face. I can see how he also couldn't evaulate the situation and followed her lead.

I do blame the referee. A whistle should have been blown.
In another world maybe Tim would have stopped the program when he instead helped her up, but skaters are taught to get up. It's the freaking USFS motto. I don't place blame there. He fell too, and may not have been aware how she fell or that she likely blacked out
 

Tinami Amori

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Watching the video, it seems like when they started again, Tim asked her if she wanted to keep going. They had a moment face to face. I can see how he also couldn't evaulate the situation and followed her lead.
I think each situation is different. This one turned out ok, so i'll leave it at that.
 

libecha

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While we're trying to bring injury rules into the 21st century, how about an additional rule that a skate must be stopped if a skater is bleeding in any way? I know it's inspiring to exclaim, "What a warrior!" as we watch a skater finish a free skate with blood gushing out of his nose, but it's disgusting and more importantly, a biohazard. Pretty much every other professional sport has a rule that an athlete with any blood on themselves or their uniform must leave the playing area immediately until the situation is corrected. The referees should not be sitting back debating with themselves as the skater drips blood onto the ice or their partner.
 

misskarne

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Aren’t her parents their coaches? I can’t believe that they would let her continue- doesn’t matter if she’s an adult. She’s still their child and no skating performance is worth risking her health or potentially her life!!!! What were they thinking???

What were they supposed to do? They can't stop the program! That's the referee's job. The referee sits with the judges and they're not allowed to approach!

I think each situation is different. This one turned out ok, so i'll leave it at that.

We don't know that. Nobody knows that. Josh and his doctors thought he'd "turned out ok" too and look how that ended.
 

Twizzler

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What were they supposed to do? They can't stop the program! That's the referee's job. The referee sits with the judges and they're not allowed to approach!


Yes!!!! So what would’ve happened? Fined by the ISU? Suspended from coaching at International events?? Who cares!!! That’s their daughter out there!!! Nothing is worth risking her health after a fall like that.
 

Willin

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While we're trying to bring injury rules into the 21st century, how about an additional rule that a skate must be stopped if a skater is bleeding in any way? I know it's inspiring to exclaim, "What a warrior!" as we watch a skater finish a free skate with blood gushing out of his nose, but it's disgusting and more importantly, a biohazard. Pretty much every other professional sport has a rule that an athlete with any blood on themselves or their uniform must leave the playing area immediately until the situation is corrected. The referees should not be sitting back debating with themselves as the skater drips blood onto the ice or their partner.
I agree with this - programs should be stopped for blood.
Unfortunately many instances of blood (Mirai's bloody nose, cuts to the hand) aren't immediately apparent until the skater leaves the ice and leaves only little drops. I have seen programs stopped for blood when it was very apparent and/or visible followed by a through scrubbing and resurfacing of the ice - a notable example being Marigold IceUnity's SP at 2007 (2008?) Worlds.
 

AxelAnnie

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@chachacha They we’re at the boards at the other end of the rink. It’s not like a practice rink where folks can just run around it... there’s tons of equipment, cables, cameras, and other stuff in the way. Even if they screamed, they may not have been heard over the music.

As I said in the other thread, the referee has the whistle and should have used it.
Yes, but you can scream!
 
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ZilphaK

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For concussions you'd have a 24-48 ban on ice time, for suspected joint/spine there should be something like a clean imaging report presented.

In youth hockey in our area, if you leave the ice with a suspected head injury, you cannot return to play or practice without doctor's note.

This should be the same with figure skating, making coaches responsible for not allowing skaters back on the ice for practice sessions until cleared by a doctor.
 

AxelAnnie

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But they could have stopped it when they started to skate. Something is better than nothing. Watching her at the end of the program...kind of staggering around is awful.

Aside from that NOBODY can take a head slam like that, and be ok to carry on. It should be expected that adrenaline makes it so the injured person's judgment questionable.

Big fail for everyone. And who doesn't know that you don't move a person who has been in a head/neck accident?
 

Willin

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In youth hockey in our area, if you leave the ice with a suspected head injury, you cannot return to play or practice without doctor's note.

This should be the same with figure skating, making coaches responsible for not allowing skaters back on the ice for practice sessions until cleared by a doctor.
I mean, this is what they tell coaches to do, but how many coaches actually follow up with it especially since there's no rule that's actually enforced. The only coach I ever saw that didn't take concussions as a complete joke was one that worked as an RN at an inner city ER. She made someone sit out TWO MONTHS after a concussion because the doctor hadn't completely cleared her, which I found a bit excessive but appropriate given the lack of medical clearance. I think the biggest concern was potential for re-injury within a certain timeframe post-concussion.

Edit for clarification: By "complete joke" I don't mean they find it funny but rather they don't take it seriously at all. They more like ask "Are you okay?" or deem them as appearing fine and then let the skater right back onto the ice.
 

Habs

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I think each situation is different. This one turned out ok, so i'll leave it at that.
My friend’s wife was out for a walk. She tripped, fell, and hit her head. She got up and was dizzy, but insisted she was fine.

Four hours later she was dead. Massive head injury and a brain bleed. But she thought she was fine and refused to get checked, so I guess that’s okay?
 
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ZilphaK

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I mean, this is what they tell coaches to do, but how many coaches actually follow up with it especially since there's no rule that's actually enforced. The only coach I ever saw that didn't take concussions as a complete joke was one that worked as an RN at an inner city ER. She made someone sit out TWO MONTHS after a concussion because the doctor hadn't completely cleared her, which I found a bit excessive but appropriate given the lack of medical clearance. I think the biggest concern was potential for re-injury within a certain timeframe post-concussion.

Edit for clarification: By "complete joke" I don't mean they find it funny but rather they don't take it seriously at all. They more like ask "Are you okay?" or deem them as appearing fine and then let the skater right back onto the ice.

Pennsylvania mandates that all school sports team have a concussion return-to-play protocol in play. In hockey, most head injuries occur during group practice or games, so there is more than one official or coach or trainer witnessing the injury. If it happens during a game, kids cannot return without a doctor's note. For school sports, it's usually not the coach's call; there are school medical personnel who must receive the doctor's written ok. There are penalties for allowing kids back to play without a doctor's note, up to and including suspension and civil liability.

For club sports, the level of sanction depends on the club. My son was out of a game after a head hit. We brought him to the emergency room, and after lengthy conversations, it was determined he most likely didn't have a concussion. We still needed to watch him carefully for signs of brain bleeds; we could have opted for a CT scan, but there is evidence that in children 12 and under, CT scans on the brain raise their risk for later brain cancers. The doctor said he could play in 48 hours as long as other symptoms didn't arise. We waited a week. Even without a concussion, he was not allowed back to play without a note.

I'm sure there are coaches and parents who put kids back on the ice sooner or without a note. However, a young hockey player in our area just died from a brain bleed after a routine practice -- and I just found out that another young hockey player broke her back in a recent game after an illegal hit -- and I'm guessing there are civil suits to follow. So, at least in our area, people are a bit on guard.
 

Theatregirl1122

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ITA - Yes, what Tim did was technically wrong - very wrong - but it's probably just simple ignorance. Most people don't know that you're not supposed to do that. And, like you said, in a panic he might not remember it. I don't think he really did anything wrong that he would have known was wrong.

I am absolutely sure that Tim did nothing wrong that he knew was wrong, especially in the moment, but his reaction was absolutely horrifying if you know anything about head injuries.

I think Tim's reaction does shine a light on the fact that EVERYONE in an ice skating rink, especially pair skaters/ice dancers and coaches, but genuinely everyone should have enough training on head injuries that they can remember, even in a panic or a horrible moment, that you cannot move someone who has hit their head or neck.

Things may have turned out okay for Ashley, but the truth is that Tim moving her, or her moving herself, or her getting up and skating could have quite literally killed her.

I don't really think most people are looking for someone to blame. I think most people are just trying to understand how something so deeply, horrifyingly dangerous could have happened and how it can be prevented in the future, because truly, if things were just a little different. Ashley could have died. That's not alarmist. That's fact.
 

Willin

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@Theatregirl1122 I don't think what I or anyone is trying to say is that what Tim did was correct or not dangerous. I think what we're saying is more to your second point: if you're going to participate in a sport and discipline like pairs that puts people at risk for head injury you should know this. As far as I know skaters and coaches are not trained in this. As a coach and skater I was taught about concussions but all other first aid information I had to get for myself.

Pennsylvania mandates that all school sports team have a concussion return-to-play protocol in play. In hockey, most head injuries occur during group practice or games, so there is more than one official or coach or trainer witnessing the injury. If it happens during a game, kids cannot return without a doctor's note. For school sports, it's usually not the coach's call; there are school medical personnel who must receive the doctor's written ok. There are penalties for allowing kids back to play without a doctor's note, up to and including suspension and civil liability.

For club sports, the level of sanction depends on the club. My son was out of a game after a head hit. We brought him to the emergency room, and after lengthy conversations, it was determined he most likely didn't have a concussion. We still needed to watch him carefully for signs of brain bleeds; we could have opted for a CT scan, but there is evidence that in children 12 and under, CT scans on the brain raise their risk for later brain cancers. The doctor said he could play in 48 hours as long as other symptoms didn't arise. We waited a week. Even without a concussion, he was not allowed back to play without a note.

I'm sure there are coaches and parents who put kids back on the ice sooner or without a note. However, a young hockey player in our area just died from a brain bleed after a routine practice -- and I just found out that another young hockey player broke her back in a recent game after an illegal hit -- and I'm guessing there are civil suits to follow. So, at least in our area, people are a bit on guard.
I think concussion awareness is growing greatly. IIRC our local schools have a similar rule about injuries and concussions, as do many of the youth leagues my neighbors' kids play in.

I don't think that's expanded to figure skating yet. Out in California we also don't have nearly as large or as visible of a hockey scene at a lot of rinks (hockey/figure skating are kept separate and there's little to no high school hockey), so I would imagine that has something to do with it. In Michigan and Illinois, where hockey was bigger, I remember people at least talking about concussions or keeping skaters off the ice for the rest of on-ice practice for the day if they hit their head.
 

Enchanted

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@Theatregirl1122 I agree. The goal of the first aid education is that you know what to do even when you are in the panic mode. The training is usually repeated regularly, it’s not just one time situation.

@Willin When I mentioned LeDuc earlier in the thread, I wasn’t blaming him. Just merely stating the fact he didn’t seem to know what to do in that situation.
 
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ZilphaK

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because truly, if things were just a little different. Ashley could have died. That's not alarmist. That's fact.

Second Impact Syndrome. A second hit that happens before the brain has fully recovered from a concussion. The second hit is often not as hard/acute as the initial hit, but the brain floods with blood and death or catastrophic brain damage is almost always the result. Although rare, SIS most often happens in young people, college and high school age, probably, researchers think, because the brain is still growing during that time.

A lot of people think brains are healed from concussions when symptoms are gone. However, research shows that in younger people, it can take weeks or months to be completely symptom free to the point of ramping back up to activity, and that MRIs show brain changes long after kids say they "feel better."

Hockey Ontario and Edmonton now have non-checking hockey at all age levels unless kids are playing AAA (highest level) hockey. This is very smart. Most kids are going to non-checking adult beer league, not the NHL. USA Hockey would do well to follow suit, but there are so many macho "got my bell rung, and I'm OK" guys out there. Not sure what "OK" means with our high levels of depression and suicide among men ages 14-54, but so far, no one is making those connections in research studies.
 
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misskarne

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Yes, but you can scream!

And guess what? The coaches can scream their lungs out BUT THE PROGRAM WON'T STOP UNTIL THE REFEREE BLOWS THE WHISTLE.

God, this is not fcuking hard to understand.

And who doesn't know that you don't move a person who has been in a head/neck accident?

Maybe someone who's in complete shock and panic and in the throes of competition adrenaline zone?
 

Karen-W

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And guess what? The coaches can scream their lungs out BUT THE PROGRAM WON'T STOP UNTIL THE REFEREE BLOWS THE WHISTLE.

God, this is not fcuking hard to understand.



Maybe someone who's in complete shock and panic and in the throes of competition adrenaline zone?
Which is why, ultimately, the referee should have been blowing that whistle immediately and stopping the program. You're right, it's not that hard to understand.
 

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