Hey, I'm a new fan (your blog is very helpful to me!) and I'm trying to figure out why 14/15 season is considered such a bad season for Yuzu. I know about CoC but that was just one comp in the beginning of the season... and he did not upgrade his layout that season?... why? Could you enlighten me a bit?
Oh anon, oh anon, where to start?
Just say, if you are a new fan and you missed 14/15 season live you should count yourself lucky.
Season started with a withdrawal from Finlandia Trophy. Nothing too much worrying, just back pain probably due to a too full off-season.
Then we had Cup of Disaster and the crash with Han Yan. Let’s go through it in his own words:
“My stomach hit the ice (when I fell) and so it felt like I received a body blow. My stomach was so painful, I could not breathe and I could not get up. Then, when I tried standing up, my chin was hurting and bleeding. My head was panicking and I didn’t know exactly where all the pain was coming from.”
“When the 6-min warm-up started again, above my left knee, the sartorius muscle was really painful. I tried jumping the loop and I could somehow do it. But when I did the lutz, it was so painful, I thought ‘yabai’ (t/n. here it can mean ‘dangerous’ or ‘terrible’ or 'crap’). The axel was painful and really hard but I was standing. Quad toeloop I had a hand down and step-out, the quad salchow I rotated and fell. So I thought 'it’s alright, even though it’s painful, if I think JUMP, I can jump!’ But 'the quad toe in the 2nd half would be impossible, what should I do (to replace it)’ and immediately I thought, 'Lutz, I will jump the lutz twice.’ 'I can just go back to the same layout as last season.’ With the remaining time, I tried out that path. When the 6-min warm-up ended, I immediately told Brian, 'I will do the lutz today.’ And he responded with something like, 'Yes, I know.’ Maybe my adrenaline was fully gushing out. Even though it was very painful, just skate to the end somehow, I thought.”
“After my performance, the American doctors had prepared the things needed to do stitches for me in the massage room of the venue. With anaesthetics, my chin received 7 stitches. There was also a cut on my head, and that part received 3 staples without anaesthesia. The staples were really painful! That night, my chin and my head and my leg and my stomach were hurting so much; the next day, I took the plane back to Japan for a medical examination, it was hell. (wry smile) The plan to return to Toronto was changed and he returned to Japan. In the hospital in Japan, the results of the medical examination was 'head contusion (or bruise), chin contusion, abdominal contusion, left thigh contusion, right ankle sprain’, 2 to 3 weeks needed for full recovery.
3 weeks after Cup of Disaster, and just few days after he started again to practice, NHK came up.
After Cup of China, a week later, the pain was still there; I could not walk for about 10 days. When I was able walk a little, I tried going onto the ice. It was too painful and I thought, NHK Trophy is surely impossible.” In the end, the final decision was made after entering the venue for NHK Trophy.
Without having been on the ice the way he had wanted, facing the competition, he had no choice but to change the layout that he was aiming for this season. After somehow qualifying for GPF, he started to train again 100%, but his conditions and the little time didn’t allow for any layout change.
In Barcelona, somewhen after SP he started feeling pain again, this time to his abdomen:
But after the short programme, my stomach started to have some pain. When I press or stretch, it’s heavy, painful, a muscle ache kind of pain. So I thought, 'Is there some damage to the muscle tissue?’ But when I finished the free skate, there was lump below my navel, like a pingpong ball, 'how strange’ I thought. After I boarded the plane, my navel swelled up. During the flight, it was so painful that I could not sleep. I went straight to the hospital for a check and was told it could be ‘Urachal Remnant’. Because the symptoms were not that bad yet, I was given antibiotics. With that, I returned home to Sendai. Then, before I had a bath, I saw that my navel had become a bulging lump. And after about 5 minutes, it burst! A lot of blood and pus gushed out.
That’s why, the period going towards Japan Championships was the same as the period before NHK Trophy, I didn’t know if I could skate. I went to the hospital and was told it’s Urachal Remnant Disorder and surgery is needed. But because I have Japan Championships, I could not have the surgery anytime soon. 'If I can bear with it, I will go for nationals,’ I thought. It was not necessary to tell people about the urachal remnant, and also it was not relevant, I wanted to go for nationals. But it was painful to bend forward and backward.
The wound was covered by gauze but blood kept oozing out and it got onto my clothes every time. To prevent it from staining my costume, on top of the gauze, the tape used was not normal tape but the kind that’s for taping. The gauze also chafed. It was painful.” The urachus connects the navel and the bladder in the fetal period; the urachal remnant started to fester and the disorder worsened but only a few people around him knew about this.
As you see, once again to change layout to the original one was impossible. He won Nationals. The next day he withdrew from Gala and was admitted in hospital instead.
“Pus was oozing out continuously. I thought, 'after nationals, I will have the surgery immediately. If not, I won’t be in time for World Championships.’ I was told that I can’t move for 2 months after the surgery.”
(Just because I feel the need of you to read a bit of horror story more):
“For the epidural anaesthesia, a catheter was inserted in my back; the alcohol used for disinfection was strong and I reacted to it/ developed a rash. After surgery, my back was itching and itching. In the stomach area, there was also a tube to drain the blood so that it does not accumulate. This was pierced through my navel and it was extremely painful. Ah~, it hurts now when I think of it. I also could not turn over. It was hard. Then later, I was injected with antibiotics and I had an allergic reaction; my whole body broke out in hives (urticaria). Really, all sorts of things happened. But thankfully, now half a year has passed and I am fine.”
He spent New Year in hospital. Some weeks later he was back in Sendai.
He wasn’t supposed to train for quite a while, but by the end of January it was reported he was back on ice.
Too soon, not ready, he twisted his ankle soon after. He had to take other weeks off and his recovery was delayed once again.
Up till Worlds there were contradicting news about his partecipation. He didn’t return to Toronto, he remained in Japan training alone in Sendai. To upgrade his layouts to the supposed versions (3A // 4T 3Lz3T and 4S 4T 3F // 4T3T 3A2T 3Alo3S 3Lo 3Lz) was impossible.
During Worlds time, it was reported he was still suffering from an infection to his abdomen (reports were not clear, tho) and for sure he did worsen his recovery by trying alternative methods (like trying to cut off his stitches with scissors, because they… itched. Itched.). He skated at that WC on a very tentative condition, he had some issue still at “contracting” his abdominal muscles to push rotation. And it’s not by chance that after such a season, with so many troubles, he decided to skate to Parisienne Walkaways during WTT Gala
In short, that’s what happened in 2014/15 season. That’s the reason he didn’t upgrade his layout from the previous one and that’s the reason 2014/15 is considered a nightmare season by many fans.