DeBues-Stafford forced to shut down her season due to stress reaction in sacrum

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VICTORIA — Canadian middle-distance star Gabriela DeBues-Stafford will miss the world track and field championships this summer due to injury.

The 26-year-old from Toronto announced Wednesday on Instagram that a stress reaction in her sacrum is forcing her to shut down her season.

"My 1,500 in (the Prefontaine Classic) showed us we were ready for some big things this year," she said. "I was so excited to see what those big things would be, can we make a podium? A PB? North American record?

"To go from feeling in the best shape of my life to barely walking in less than a week is gut-wrenching. This is my first bone stress injury ever — and for it to happen in a bone as big as the sacrum (in the pelvis) — like wtf?"

DeBues-Stafford holds seven Canadian indoor and outdoor track records. She was fifth in the 1,500 metres at the Tokyo Olympics and fourth in the 3,000 at the world indoor championships this past winter.

She won bronze in the 1,500 at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet in late May in Eugene, Ore., but has been sidelined with the injury since, withdrawing from meets in Hengelo, Netherlands and Rome while hoping the injury was nothing serious.

She figures the injury was "just the perfect storm — partly mechanical/strength related, partly some under-fuelling, not enough consistent sleep/recovery, and also lots of stress," she said in her Instagram post.

DeBues-Stafford recently moved to Victoria to train, citing stress around the doping ban of her former Portland training partner Shelby Houlihan and Houlihan's continued presence around the team.

DeBues-Stafford trained with the Bowerman Track Club in Portland for the past two years. But she said that the aftermath of Houlihan's four-year doping ban in June of 2021 hurt her preparation for the Olympics, and the fact Houlihan remained connected to the Bowerman club is too much of a distraction.

The Canadian track and field championships are June 23-26 in Langley, B.C., and the world championships are July 15-24 in Eugene, Ore.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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