Sarah Burke died 10 days after suffering injuries in a January 10 practice crash in Park City, Utah. Her death has raised a lot of safety questions given that the Winter X Games will soon be held there, Boston Herald reports. The demise was announced on Wednesday during a news conference held by the skier’s best friend, Gretchen Bleiler.
Gretchen Bleiler could not help shedding tears over her late friend. She told reporters who were present at the press conference that Burke was one of the best skiers she ever knew. She further stated that the Canadian freestyle skier, who was very passionate about her work, never disobeyed the sky rules.
Many analysts are now wondering whether the halfpipe is too dangerous for the Winter X Games that will take place from Thursday to Sunday on Buttermilk Mountain. Burke isn’t the only skier who was hurt in this location. In 2009, snowboarder Kevin Pearce almost lost his life in a similar accident at Park City. The traumatic brain injury he suffered back then prevented him from taking part at the 2010 Olympics. As a matter of fact, the snowboarder announced his retirement in 2011.
Sarah Burke first broke a back vertebra at the Winter X in 2009. After that incident, she told reporters at the Associated Press that injuries are part of the game. Moreover, she considered herself lucky with the incidents she had.
On January 10, Burke was performing a 540, that is, a basic jump with one rotation when she landed in a wrong angle in the pipe that stretches 22 feet tall. According to doctors’ declarations, the skier tore a vertebral artery in her neck. She partially recovered thanks to the surgery she underwent after the accident, but the lack of oxygen and blood from a heart attack she suffered in the pipe caused irreversible damage to her brain.
ESPN planned a tribute for the late skier. The event will be held on Thursday and organizers hope to raise $550,000 to cover for Burke’s medical expenses. So far, they have managed to raise $294,200.