February 14, 2012
Fedun back on the ice
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Taylor Fedun talks about the details of his gruesome accident like it happened to a stranger, with no more emotion than if he were describing the difference between a hockey stick and a goalie stick.
“Compound fracture is where the bone pops out of the skin,” he says matter of factly. “Mine was complex, where there are bits and pieces everywhere.”
It’s never good when you’ve got the one that’s worse than bone through skin, but five months after a sickening collision into the end boards in Minnesota that shattered his femur and might have ended his career, the 23-year-old defenceman is back on the ice.
It’s the latest small step in a journey that’s taken him from hospital bed to wheelchair to crutches to cane to walking unaided to jogging to putting on the blades.
“It’s been a very long road, but having all those milestones along the way made it much more manageable,” he said after his brief twirl after Oilers practice at Millennium Place.
“I feel really good. To be able to get back on the ice is really big for the mental aspect. Basically this entire time there haven’t been any setbacks, it’s been a steady positive progression and that’s helped me stay positive.
“From the minute I heard what (the injury) was and talked to the doctors, I knew this day would come. All along the way I’ve been told as long as I kept doing what I had to do and taking care of my rehab that this day would eventually come.”
He describes the titanium rod that runs from his hip to his kneecap, which has two screws at the top and two at the bottom, the same way he talks about the break — businesslike.
“It’s not something that I think about too much anymore,” he said. “I feel like everything is getting stronger. To be able to be out here already and keep pushing forward … I’m able to say it without a grimace.”
Fedun, who graduated from Princeton, was having a fantastic training camp when he slid into the end boards late in the pre-season while chasing down an icing. In all likelihood, given his play and the subsequent injuries on Edmonton’s blueline, he’d have about 50 NHL games under his belt by now if he hadn’t been hurt.
“The position I’m in right now, I can’t really afford to be doing too many what ifs,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to stay positive and do what I can with the cards that I’ve been dealt. It does kind of suck the way things happened, but I’m trying to take the positives out of this and move forward with it.”
And by moving forward, he means showing up at training camp next year and finishing what he started.
“Absolutely. The plan is to continue the way we’re going here and come summertime hopefully be 100% into the training regimen like I would have been if this had happened or not. And come September, I should be ready to go full steam ahead.
“They said right from the get go it’s something I should be able to get back to 100%. Talking to other people who’ve had femur fractures, they’ve had positive things to say, too. They said they were able to come back 100% and it hasn’t slowed them down at all.”
Head coach Tom Renney wishes all his guys had the same drive.
“If ever you needed an example, as a team of what perseverance looks like, there’s a pretty good example,” said the coach. “Every single day he’s been working on coming back. We all hope for good things for him.”