Although the couple has won each time they competed at U.S. Nationals, McLaughlin has never been healthy there.
"The first year I had the stomach flu, last year I had a fever, and this year I had bronchitis," McLaughlin said. "I don't know if it's the stress or the long season, but I was sick for a week before Nationals and had a hard time getting through it."
Meanwhile, Brubaker was suffering from two painful torn muscles in his lower abdomen, which he first noticed in the fall of 2008.
Dr. John Reasoner, the medical director of performance services at the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, CO, said Brubaker "had the ability to work though it during competitions, which is pretty amazing because it can be a very annoying and debilitating injury for individuals who perform repeated lifting."
"Sometimes there were days I had to tone it down in training or couldn't do as much because of it, but it didn'’t affect my competition," Brubaker claimed.
The injuries were serious enough that Brubaker had surgery on April 3 to repair the damage and will not be able to be back on the ice until May.
"We wanted to have the surgery right after Worlds so I could heal since next season is so important," Brubaker said.
Earlier in the season, the 2007 World Junior Champions won a silver medal at Skate America and a bronze at Skate Canada, but missed qualifying for the ISU Grand Prix Final.
"We've done all right," Brubaker said. "We've almost always been on the podium as seniors. Sometimes we've not had the best skates, but we've been consistent."
McLaughlin and Brubaker placed fifth at the ISU Four Continents Championships, which were held in the figure skating venue for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. They placed 11th at Worlds.