Doctors: No prognosis yet for injured skier Sarah Burke

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2012 7:43 PM
Doctors: No prognosis yet for injured skier Sarah Burke

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) - Doctors said on Friday that it was too early to tell the prognosis for top Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke who was in critical condition at a Salt Lake City hospital after a fall.

Burke, an early favorite to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, was taken by air ambulance to University of Utah hospital on Tuesday after falling during a half-pipe run at Park City Mountain Resort.

The 29-year-old athlete underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a tear in her vertebral artery that resulted in a hemorrhage within the skull.

She remained in critical condition in the Neuro Critical Care Unit on Friday, Dr. Safdar Ansari, a neurointensivist at the hospital, said in a written statement released by Burke's representatives.

"With traumatic brain injury, our care is focused on addressing the primary injury and preventing secondary brain damage, as well as managing other injuries sustained at the time of the accident, all of which requires close monitoring and intensive care," Ansari said.

"At this moment, Sarah needs more time before any prognosis can be determined," he said.

He said Burke was being cared for by a multidisciplinary team at the hospital.

Few details have been released about the accident that injured Burke, described by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association as one of the top half-pipe skiers in the world and an ambassador for her sport.

But Peter Judge, the ski association's chief executive, has said that she was not attempting a new trick or "anything out of the norm" at the time she fell.

Burke, who is married to fellow skier Rory Bushfield, has reached the podium at every career World Cup start and is a four-time champion at the X-Games.

She was expected to be a top contender for the gold medal when freestyle half-pipe makes its debut at the 2014 Games.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Greg McCune)