Freestyle skier Sarah Burke, 29, Thursday died of brain damage she sustained in an accident nine days ago, when she fell while practicing on the halfpipe in Salt Lake City, according to the Associated Press.
Burke, a Canadian, had her ultimately fatal accident on the same halfpipe where champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce hit his head in a crash. Pearce’s accident happened Dec. 31, 2009, and he sustained life-changing traumatic brain injury.
So did Burke. But she died from her’s. When she fell Jan. 10 at the end of her run, she severed her vertebral artery, and that caused bad bleeding on her brain, according to AP. Burke then went into cardiac arrest and was given CPR right at the scene. She was then hospitalized.
Burke’s publicist issued a statement that said the skier died of “irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest,” AP reported.
The statement also said, “The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched.”
The young athlete’s organs will be donated to those who need them.
Burke was a big advocate for so-called “superpipe” skiing, and had convinced the Olympics to add the sport to its program. It is set to debut in the 2014 Games, but Burke obviously won’t be there to compete.”
Extreme sports and the halfpipe, which is 22 feet high, go hand in hand. And it seems like TBI is part of that equation now, too.