May 28, 2003
SEATTLE - Husky senior Brad Walker, currently the top-ranked American pole vaulter in 2003, saw his record-breaking season come to a premature end Wednesday as the result of a broken right hand. The Spokane, Wash., native will not compete again outdoors for Washington, but has stated to head coach Greg Metcalf a desire to return in 2004 for his one remaining season of indoor eligibility.
X-rays earlier in the week revealed a hairline fracture in the hand, and an MRI Tuesday confirmed the break. Doctors informed Walker that surgery would not be necessary at this time, provided he ceased vaulting immediately. It is expected that Walker will be able to begin practicing again in the fall, and will return to competition next winter.
"It's certainly a tough situation for Brad, to have this happen right before his final NCAA Outdoor Championships," Metcalf said. "He's a tough competitor, though, and has informed me that this is not how he wants his collegiate career to end. He's going to fight back and compete for us again next indoor season, and I'm sure he'll be eager to prove to everyone that he's still the man to beat."
Should Walker return for his final indoor season, he would be defending the NCAA indoor title he earned in March with a Pac-10 record vault of 19-feet, 0 1/4-inch that was nine inches beyond his nearest competitor, and equaled the sixth-best mark in NCAA history. The vault currently ranks Walker in a tie for third in the 2003 IAAF World Rankings, and equals the best mark by an American pole vaulter this season.