It’s been a tough four months for Jessica Sergeant, but things are beginning to look up.
Sergeant, one of the top senior female figure skaters in the province, has been battling compartment syndrome in her left leg, which for some time appeared to be bad enough that she would need surgery.
Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment, which can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.
“It’s the same thing Teresa Virtue had and she needed surgery and was off for a year,” explained Sergeant, who was home in Red Deer Sunday as part of Skate Alberta’s preparation for the Western Canadian championships, set for early December in Saskatoon.
“I was supposed to have surgery in December after the Westerns, but the surgeon has called it off as things are getting better,” explained Sergeant. “It’s the lower part of my leg, around the calf, and while it still causes some pain, it’s not nearly as intense.”
Sergeant, who works out of the Extreme Edge Skating Club in Edmonton, first noticed it when she bought new skates in June.
“It got worse during the summer and I got so I could only skate every other day and cut my off ice training. The last couple of months I was able to get back on the ice and train properly.”
Sergeant, who grew up training with the Red Deer Skating Club, moved to Edmonton close to two years ago to work with Jan Ullmark at the Royal Glenora Club. That didn’t work out so she moved to the Extreme Edge and trains with Angela Duffy and Doug Schmierer.
The move north was something she didn’t want to do, but came out of necessity.
“It came after my long-time coaches Tammy (Paul) and Debby (Allen) decided to semi-retire from the Red Deer Club,” Sergeant explained. “It was a hard decision for me. I didn’t want to go as I’ve been with them so long and I was used to them. Change was hard for me, but it’s working out.”
The 21-year-old, who is in her third year at the senior level, is working in Edmonton and paying for the majority of her skating expenses.
She finished third in the Alberta/NWT/Nunavut regional championships this year, which was fine by her.
“Because I missed some time training it hurt, so the result was OK, all I wanted to do was qualify and from there it’s step by step,” she said. “My goal is to do well at the Westerns and go to the nationals where I can show myself off and get my name out there again.”
Sergeant competed at the nationals last year, finishing 12th, after missing two years ago because of an injury.
She feels she can make the nationals this year.
“A lot of good things have happened over the last couple of months and I’m excited,” she said. “I want to show the new stuff I have.”
One thing she’s doing is working hard on adding more triples to her program.
“I’ve been working on getting more consistency in my triple jumps and rotations . . . and it’s coming,” she said. “I’ve been two-footing my triple Lutz and loop, but once I get consistent they’ll go into my program and make it that much more difficult.”
The short program has always been Sergeant’s strength, but she was better in the long program at the provincials.
“That’s unusual,” she said. “It’s good the long program is coming as it’s more involved, but still . . .”
Sergeant has been involved in the sport for 17 years and isn’t sure how long she’ll stay at it. She also considered switching to pairs.
“I was thinking about it, but I’d have to move out east as there’s more opportunities there, but it’s something I can’t afford.”
Sergeant will leave for Saskatoon Dec. 1 and she has her mind set on what she wants to accomplish.
“To do what I can do and keep it consistent and be specific about everything . . . get everything done.”