Olympic aerials: Flight is canceled for Ferguson

Published February 20, 2010 9:24 pm

Aerials » Appendicitis robs Park City's Ferguson of Olympics.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dylan Ferguson's focus for Monday was supposed to be on winning an Olympic medal.

A couple of weeks ago, Ferguson was ready to compete. Days later, he was deathly ill.

Ferguson, No. 2 among U.S. freestyle aerialists, came awfully close to suffering a ruptured appendix. Now he's like us, watching on television.

"I've been kind of the healthiest kid ever," Ferguson said. "I don't like going to a hospital. This has been a shock."

Ferguson and his mother, Patricia, watched the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics from a hospital sick bed in Utah. Because of complications from the removal of his appendix, the Massachusetts native will now set his sights on the 2014 Olympics.

"It's good to be out of the hospital," he said from his Park City home. "It hurt a lot more knowing I would have walked in the Opening Ceremonies. I think I'm coping with it well."

Ferguson, 21, first experienced pain while training in Park City on Feb. 2. Two days later, he was rushed to the emergency room at Park City Medical Center.

Arthroscopic techniques were used to remove the organ, and Ferguson believed he would be ready to compete in Vancouver, British Columbia. But he developed an infection and was eventually taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Doctors found an abscess the size of a fist and fitted a drainage tube for the infection. It is expected to be removed later this week.

Ferguson, who enjoyed a sixth-place finish January at the World Cup in Deer Valley, was pleased that close friend Scott Bahrke was selected to join Olympians Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, Ryan St. Onge and Matt DePeters.

"I wish Scotty all the best," he said.

Ferguson's illness also threw a monkey wrench into his family's Olympic plans, which included renting a house in British Columbia. When Ferguson withdrew from the Olympic team, he also lost his credentials.

"This now goes down in family history as the most expensive vacation we couldn't take," Patricia said. "It's been very overwhelming, very emotional for the entire family.

"He's hobbling around a lot. He was just so sick, miserable sick."

Pointing toward the luge tragedy that opened the Games, Ferguson's mother also put the experience into perspective.

"It could have been worse," she said. "There are people in Georgia burying their son."

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