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Sarah Burke: Training Run Crash Resulting in Coma Shows True Dangers of Skiing

COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 09:  Sarah Burke of Canada skis to seventh place in the halfpipe finals of the FIS Freestyle World Cup at the VISA US Freeskiing Grand Prix on December 9, 2011 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2012

Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke suffered a terrible fall in a practice run on the superpipe in Park City, Utah, leaving her in a coma. 

Skiing is often overlooked as a dangerous sport, but Burke's unfortunate injury brings to light how risky and unsafe the sport can be. 

The superpipe, which is a half-pipe filled with snow, sees those who compete in it reach heights near 20 feet in the air. Competitors are racing with top speed and doing high-difficulty tricks in mid-air. 

When a crash occurs, everyone is very uneasy because of the unknown. Skiers and snowboarders are falling from extreme heights, and landing wrong could be devastating to their health. 

Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge told The Vancouver Sun that Burke's fall wasn't overly frightening for on-lookers, but sadly it resulted in a devastating injury. 

Apparently she landed on her feet at the bottom of the pipe and then kind of bounced on to her head. It didn’t look like it was a real stunner of a fall, but obviously it was one of those ones where she hit just right and it was more pointed than it appeared. 
From there, she was flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City. 

The extent of Burke's injury is not yet known, and we wish her well in her recovery. 

Burke was an Olympic hopeful who was expected to compete for gold. She's a pioneer in women's skiing who not only helped women's ski pipe get to the X Games, but also the Olympics in 2014.

It isn't just superpipe that makes skiing so dangerous, as the downhill events are arguably much worse. 

Competitors are flying down intense slopes, and at a moment's notice, they could be on the ground unconscious after a nasty fall. It happens far too often and is the reason some of the sport's best haven't won in recent years. 

Injuries are a part of every sport, and athlete safety is being focused on much more these days. 

Since it's not as popular as other sports, people fail to realize how dangerous any type of ski competition can be. 

The snow may be fun to play with, but when crashing into it with intense speeds and high velocity, it can do a great deal of damage.

Our thoughts are with Burke, and we hope she can compete again someday. 

 

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