Athlete bouncing back from concussion
Tumbling: Nick Kilcommons aiming for nationals in 2013
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
Turning upside down and twisting like a pretzel 15 feet in the air doesn’t seem like the perfect medicine for an athlete who is recovering from headaches due to a concussion.
However, 18-year-old Nick Kilcommons’ performance at the Airborne Tumbling and Trampoline Meet Feb. 2-3 is an indication he is on the mend after suffering a concussion during a snowboarding accident in December 2011.
The veteran athlete tried out a difficult routine in the mini-trampoline, his best event on Feb. 3. Kilcommons was dynamite in his two preliminary passes on Feb. 2, but stumbled on his first of two attempts in the finals on Sunday.
He said he over rotated on his dismount and wound up crashing into the cushion on the back.
“That is huge deductions in points,” Kilcommons said. “It is definitely upsetting especially when I had just completed it two times in my warm-ups, but at this level, those things happen… You can dwell on it, but when the margin of error is about 0.6 per cent of what you are doing, it’s bound to happen.”
He had to get over it in a hurry.
His second attempt was about seven minutes later. Kilcommons just missed the ideal landing zone, but he was happy with the effort. He also had two good showings in the preliminary attempts on Feb. 2.
“I was pretty happy with how I did overall,” Kilcommons said, adding his routine had a much bigger DD (degree of difficulty) than he has had in the past.
The double-mini has the athlete jumping off one small trampoline onto another before dismounting. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way.
His goal at the Airborne meet was to reach a gold standard, which can be used to earn him funding as a national athlete. He must reach the gold standard at two meets throughout the year to qualify.
The score needed for a gold standard will be set later this month.
His home meet was Kilcommons’ first of the season after competing just twice in 2012 after his concussion.
Kilcommons hasn’t put the concussion behind him — adding he always has a headache. However, he is looking forward.
“I am progressing, but I wouldn’t say I am happy as to where I am at. My concussion is still debilitating at times,” Kilcommons said. “I am happy that I am moving forward. The attitude I have is progress is progress.”
A spectator would never guess Kilcommons had any issues with headaches or dizziness after watching the Okotoks athlete on the trampoline about 20 minutes after his double mini performance.
“I was very happy with my tramp,” said Kilcommons, who is also a coach at Airborne. “My routine, I created it and finished it for the first time on Thursday (Jan. 31) at practice.
“I was really happy to complete it — and fairly well — in competition.”
He said he also hopes to qualify in the trampoline for nationals in May in Ottawa.
Airborne coach Matt Wheele said Kilcommons is well on his way.
“Now it is just a case of getting lots of hours and repetition under his belt,” he said.
Kilcommons wasn’t the only Airborne athlete to do well at their meet.
Wheele said 12-year-old Mackenzie Kyfiuk had a strong performance in the double-mini. Her score was good enough for the John Paul II Collegiate student to qualify for the nationals.
“She can compete at the national level when I decide to bump her up,” Wheele said. “My plan is to bump her up in July.”
The Airborne athletes will compete in Edmonton later this month.