Oceanside's Cesario will miss Nationals

Samantha Cesario of Oceanside High School was hoping Samantha Cesario of Oceanside High School was hoping to improve on last year's showing at the figure skating nationals. (Dec. 24, 2010) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Samantha Cesario has withdrawn from this month's figure skating Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. after a CT scan Thursday revealed fractured vertebrae. The injury is expected to keep her off the ice at least six to eight weeks.

The Oceanside senior, who had a similar injury when she was 12, was very disappointed. "It's hard when you work throughout the year and the thing you work for, you can't go to."

Despite back pain last autumn, Cesario, 17, won the North Atlantic Regional tournament and Sectionals in November, qualifying for Nationals for a second time. Then, tests revealed inflammation around a disc - a common injury among skaters, often caused by excessive torque and a lack of recuperation time. A doctor last week said "the inflammation likely hid the fracture on the X-rays," Cesario's mother, Joanne, said.

Cesario worked with a physical therapist and avoided strenuous spins for several weeks to rest her back. But, in preparation for Nationals on Jan. 26, her workouts were kicked back up recently.

During a practice Tuesday, Cesario complained of severe pain and was sent for the CT scan, which showed a fracture in the Lumbar 5 vertebrae. Cesario will wear a back brace to help hasten the recovery, she said.

She had finished 14th in Nationals last January and, after a year spent working on jumps, was expected to have a better showing. Cesario hopes to compete again this summer.

"I'm an athlete and I know injuries are part of it," she said, "but I'll recover and get past this."