Dakotah Keys out of summer track competition with knee injury

Sweet Home decathlete Dakotah Keys will miss the summer track season with a broken kneecap, his mother said Monday.

Keys, 17, announced last week that he will sign to compete in track and field for the University of Oregon. He had planned to compete June 25-26 in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships junior decathlon competition and, later in the summer, to defend his national Junior Olympics decathlon title.

Lela Danforth, Keys’ mother, said he injured his right knee on Thursday, June 4, during a freak thunderstorm that pelted Sweet Home with hail and rain. Keys was serving as an aide at the swimming pool and went outside to check on pool chemicals that Pool Supervisor Junia Calhoon feared might be flooded.

As he returned to the pool, Danforth said, Keys was running because of the heavy rain and had to dodge another person who cut in front of him, “slamming into a brick wall,” his mother said. Doctors diagnosed the injury as a fracture late last week and referred him to Dr. Ronald Wolbig, a Corvallis orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating athletes.

Danforth said Keys will undergo surgery later this week and will be out “three to four months.

Keys said Wolbig told him not to worry about it and that he can work on his upper body strength.

“I’m kind of down that I can’t compete, but it’s nothing that’s going to hurt me in the long run,” he said.