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Concussion could end championship bid for Wirtz-Sargeant

February 10, 1996

OTTAWA (AP) _ Kris Wirtz was taken to a hospital and his pairs partner, Kristy Sargeant, was treated for bruises and scrapes after a nasty spill in practice Friday in the Canadian figure skating championships.

Wirtz suffered a minor concussion. Sargeant badly bruised her knee and also suffered cuts and scrapes to her shoulder and elbow.

Wirtz was released from the hospital late Friday with orders for Sargeant to wake her skating partner every two hours through the night. They were to decide at Saturday morning’s practice skate whether they would finish the competition.

Wirtz and Sargeant fell attempting a flip, a move in which he lifts her over his head and turns her in the air.

Sargeant, 22, was treated at the practice rink. Wirtz, 26, walked out unaided but was ``very hazy.″

``He didn’t remember anything at the moment,″ said his brother and coach, Paul Wirtz.

Wirtz, of Marathon, Ontario, and Sargeant, of Edmonton, were in second place behind defending Canadian champions Michelle Menzies and Jean-Michel Bombardier after the pairs short program Thursday.

Paul Wirtz said even if the couple can compete Saturday, the shock of the incident on the eve of the final skate is a blow to their chances.

``(Especially since) this type of thing was with them last year,″ Paul said. ``When they got up last year (at nationals) he was so sick he couldn’t even walk and they did the long program. I’m sure they’re gutsy enough that they would want to do it.

``The big thing on their head is they know how tight the race is.″

Sargeant and Wirtz finished fifth at the 1995 Canadian championships.

The top two Canadian pairs this year earn a berth in the world figure skating championships in Edmonton next month.

``Kris’s big thing is to get underneath the girl (in a fall),″ Paul Wirtz said. ``The boys are taught that by their coaches.″

Kris was initially thought to be unscathed, but the knock took its toll.

``I tried to get him up and go through some footwork steps,″ said Paul. ``What happened is Kris just (had) no recollection of different parts of the program.″

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