Sarah Burke died today from injuries she received in a half-pipe training accident in Park City, Utah. She lived in British Columbia, but was training for the Olympics in Utah. The rest of her team was inWhistler, the town Burke was from.
According to a statement from Nicole Wool, who worked for Burke as her publicist, she suffered irreversible brain damage. The damage was from a lack of blood and oxygen after suffering from cardiac arrest. Herorgans were donated and her family said that was what she wanted.
Burke was a four time X-games champion who knew the risks that her chosen sport had. She was a key factor in the addition of superpipe skiing to the Olympics and she was one of the favorites to win gold at the 2014 Olympics.
Burke’s accident occurred on the same half-pipe that Kevin Pearce crashed on back in December 2009. Pearce also suffered a traumatic brain injury. Pearce has recovered from his injuries and has returned to snowboarding. However, Burke’s death and Pearce’s injuries are a stark reminder of just how dangerous the sport can be. There will likely be a lot of discussions about the risks of the sport and what can be done to make it safer.
The family expressed their gratitude and thanks for the support Burke and her loved ones received since the accident. Burke was always involved in various elements of her sport, including helping to instruct children on the finer points of skiing. She also worked with other competitors that were just coming into the limelight to help them perform at their very best.
There have been some significant safety improvements over the past few years, including mandating theuse of helmets and the introduction of airbags on the side of the pipes. However, even the height of the pipes has gone up in the last few years. They are now 22 feet high. There aren’t many guidelines when it comes to limiting just how dangerous the tricks are in the half-pipe. There may be such limitations put into place after Burke’s death. However, one thing is certain – Burke died doing something that she loved.