Park City, Utah, has again become the scene of tragedy involving traumatic brain injury (TBI) and young athletes.
As The New York Times pointed out Thursday, roughly two years ago champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce sustained TBI in an accident in Park City. And on Tuesday, Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke fell and hit her head a 22-foot halfpipe in Park City, the same place where Pearce had his accident, according to The Times.
Burke fell during a landing, where she apparently “bounced” from her feet to her head, sustaining serious injuries, according to Reuters.
After the accident 29-year-old Burke was transported by air ambulance to University of Utah hospital in Salt Lake City. The skier, considered a shoo-in to win an Olympic Gold medal when the freestyle half-pipe premieres at the 2014 Games, had surgery to “repair a tear in her vertebral artery that resuled in an intracranial hemorrhage,” according to Reuters. She is in critical condition.
The head of neurology at the hospital, Dr. William Couldwell, released a written statement.
“With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making any definitive pronouncements about Sarah’s prognosis for recovery,” he said.
Things have not worked out so well for Pearce, according to The Times, since his Dec. 31, 2009 accident. He was in a coma, and then in hospitals for four months. He is still in rehab for his balance and memory.
Last month Pearce returned to his snowboard for a ride, the first time he’s tried that since his accident.
But according to The Times, at the ripe old age of 24 now, Pearce “has no plans to compete again.”