Sarah Burke, one of the best top-pipe skiers in the world, breathed her last at the Salt Lake City hospital where she was admitted a few days earlier after she crashed in Park City, Utah.
Announcing her demise, her publicist said that Sarah had suffered from irreversible brain damage because her brain got starved for oxygen and blood after she sustained a cardiac arrest.
Due to the accident, Sarah’s vertebral artery ruptured and this caused the blood to seep into the brain, resulting in a cardiac arrest at the accident site itself. And, 9 days later, she was declared dead.
However, kudos to her family for respecting Sarah’s last wishes. Her tissues and organs were donated.
This is truly a sad end to a wonderful woman and freestyle skier’s life. She was a pioneer of freestyle women’s skiing and it was because of her persistence that the superpipe was finally made into an Olympic event. The event is going to be held for the first time in the Olympics in 2014. In fact, it was certain that Sarah Burke would be one of the medal winners at the 2014 Olympics.
Sarah crashed after performing a freestyle skiing trick called the Flat Spin 540. According to the CEO of the Canadian freestyle team, Peter Judge, Sarah Burke’s accident was a freak accident, as she had all the capabilities to perform this trick.
There has always been a cause of concern about the safety of the half-pipe. The site where Sarah Burke had her accident already witnessed another accident in 2009 December when Kevin Pearce, a snowboarder, sustained brain injury. While Pearce did recover from his injury, Sarah’s untimely demise is get the opponents of this sport to begin talking about the dangers involved. However, half-pipe skiers and supporters of the sport claim that today the sport is safer than what it used to be a few decades ago. Helmets are mandatory and the sides of the pipes have airbags that have to be used even during practice sessions. Even the walls of the pipes have been raised and now are 22 feet. Furthermore, proponents of the sport claim that if there were dangers, athletes themselves would take measures to ensure that the sport was made safer.
So it is quite possible that the tragic end to Sarah Burke’s life was perhaps nothing but a freak accident.