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Defending pairs champions pull out of U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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Defending champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea finish fifth after Thursday's short program. Kayne, who's been dealing with a knee injury, fell on their throw triple Lutz.

KANSAS CITY -- Defending U.S. pairs champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea withdrew from the national championships due to a concussion Kayne sustained in a short program fall Thursday.

“After examination and follow up, it was the advice of the chief medical officer that Kayne should not compete for her own health and safety due to symptoms of concussion,” U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement Saturday.

Kayne and O’Shea were fifth in Thursday’s short program, where Kayne fell hard on their throw triple Lutz.

Kayne and O’Shea were surprise national champions last year but came into Kansas City as underdogs behind Skate American silver medalists Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier. Kayne had been battling knee tendinitis.

Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, in their first year together, surprisingly topped the pairs short program with a clean performance and go into Saturday’s free skate (3 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app) with a 3.96-point lead.

Full pairs short program results are here.

The top U.S. pair in international competition in recent seasons, Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim, has been out since Scimeca’s stomach surgery in September.

Check out NBCsports.com/USFIGS for all-access coverage all week.

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