Burke undergoes surgery to repair torn artery
Free skiing legend Sarah Burke of Squamish, B.C., currently hospitalized following a hard crash while training in a halfpipe at Park City, Utah, was operated on Wednesday.
Burke underwent a successful operation to repair a tear to her vertebral artery which resulted in an intracranial hemorrhage at the time of her fall. William T. Couldwell, M.D. Ph.D., professor and chair of Neurosurgery at University of Utah performed the operation to repair the artery.
“With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making definitive pronouncements about Sarah’s prognosis for recovery,” said Couldwell. “Our Neuro Critical Care team will be monitoring her condition and response continuously over the coming hours and days.”
Burke fell early Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 10) and was flown by helicopter to the University Hospital in Salt Lake after being stabilized at the scene of the accident and taken to the bottom of the mountain by ski patrol. She remains in critical condition.
Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, and Burke's family are in Utah to be by her side. “Sarah is a very strong young woman and she will most certainly fight to recover,” said Bushfield.
Burke is a world champion halfpipe skier who many see as the favorite to bring home a gold medal at the sport’s Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She has won four X-Games gold medals, was voted 2007's Best Female Action Sports Athlete at the ESPY awards and has appeared in many free skiing films.
“Sarah is the top female halfpipe athlete in the world she was instrumental in launching the sport and has continued to be a leader moving towards the sport’s Olympic debut in 2014,”said Canadian Freestyle CEO Peter Judge. “She is an incredibly resilient and strong young woman and we are hoping she will draw on that strength at this time. Our thoughts are with her and her family at this time.”
Ski Racing is closely following Burke's condition and will continue to provide the most up-to-date information as possible.
Front image by Zoom, story Image by Gepa