Shaughnessy recovering from broken jaw
By Sarah Brannen
The senior pairs team of Alexandria Shaughnessy and Jimmy Morgan went from high to low in quick succession at the end of August. They were delighted to receive their first international assignment, the Ondrej Nepela Trophy. A few days later, on Aug. 26, they were finishing up what Morgan called “a really great run-through” of their free skate at The Skating Club of Boston, coming around the corner in a butterfly hold, when they both tripped and fell. Shaughnessy couldn’t break her fall and took the full impact on her chin, breaking her jaw in three places as well as breaking some teeth.
“I immediately knew it was bad,” Shaughnessy wrote in an email. “Because, well, first there was a good amount of blood, and second I could feel pieces of my teeth falling out. My body was so numb that I had no idea I had even split my chin open and needed stitches.”
“It was right where it needed to be to do the most damage,” Morgan said of the impact.
Morgan and coach Carrie Wall accompanied Shaughnessy to Boston Children’s Hospital. Two days later, on Aug. 28, Shaughnessy had surgery, also at Children’s Hospital, to implant a titanium plate in her chin. After her jaw heals, she will need crowns for some of her teeth. Her jaw was wired shut for two weeks. She wasn’t able to talk for a few days and communicated by notepad and sign language, but she says she can now talk a little.
“Sometimes the pain is very uncomfortable around my chin area,” Shaughnessy wrote. “But lately it’s been more manageable because I have a good routine for eating (protein shakes and smoothies) and taking my medicines.”
Shaughnessy, 21 and Morgan, 22, finished 12th at the 2014 U.S. Championships, their first as seniors. They were the 2012 U.S. novice bronze medalists. Shaughnessy’s doctors plan to evaluate the timeline for her recovery this week, so the team is not certain whether they will be able to compete at the Nepela Trophy.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, of course,” Morgan said. “Obviously she can take as much time as she needs. We have a long road ahead of us — if worse comes to worst and we miss our first international, we have many more ahead of us.”