This post is courtesy of Brian Todd and Dugald McConnell and originally appeared on CNN
January 31, 2013
The death of Caleb Moore is shining a spotlight on growing concerns over safety in extreme sports.
The freestyle snowmobiler, attempting a backflip last week at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, couldn't rotate his machine enough to land the maneuver. The skis dug into the lip of the slope, bringing the 450-pound snowmobile crashing down on him. The vehicle slammed into Moore's head and chest.
After initially diagnosing Moore, 25, with a concussion after Thursday's accident, doctors soon discovered bleeding around his heart.
He had emergency surgery at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction on Friday, a day after the accident. He had brain complications, and his family issued a statement saying he was in critical condition and being closely monitored.
On Thursday, a week after the accident, Moore died.
The combination of quirky, hair-raising events that make up the X Games were once pushed to the distant margins of televised sports. But in recent years, some have been added to both Summer and Winter Olympic slates.
"They do train all year for this," said Dr. Christine Trankiem, a trauma surgeon at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. "But it's important for the folks watching at home to realize that these acts, while exciting to watch, are potentially life-threatening, limb-threatening and brain-threatening acts if an accident should occur."
Moore's injury was one of several at this year's Winter X Games. His younger brother, Colten, suffered a separated pelvis in the same event. Freestyle skier Rose Battersby, a New Zealander, incurred a spinal fracture, and Icelandic snowboarder Halldor Helgason suffered a concussion.
Sebastian Landry, a filmmaker who specialized in snowmobile features, told the New York Times last year that injuries in the sport made him lose interest in filming.
"It seemed like every time we went to the mountains somebody went to the hospital," Landry told the Times. "Kids get stars in their eyes and just want to go for it. That, plus being raised with the motor-head mentality where it's all or nothing."
It's not just the athletes who appear to be at risk.
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