I have tried to understand how Sarah Burke's freestyle ski injury actually ended up resulting in her death this week. The information, at first, was pretty sketchy. Ultimately, we learned that, when Sarah's head snapped back in her fall, the whiplash caused a tear (dissection) of her vertebral artery, which cut off the blood to her brain, causing her to go into cardiac arrest and resulting in irreversible brain damage.
The injury that took Sarah's life occurred just after landing a trick she'd successfully executed a thousand times before. It reminds us all that many of the high-speed, high-flying events that take place during the Winter X and Olympic Games come with potential and real danger.
In a tragic coincidence, Sarah's accident took place at the same superpipe venue in Park City, Utah where snowboarder Kevin Pearce nearly died from a brain injury in a fall just over two years ago.
So how does an injury like Sarah's happen and can it be prevented? I decided to ask an expert to weigh in, so I contacted Dr. David Geier, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist and the Director of MUSC Sports Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina and asked him to submit a guest article for MomsTeam. To read what Dr. Geier has to say about the injury Sarah Burke suffered, click here.
Have you ever known of a person who suffered such an accident? Was their tear surgically treated successfully?
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