By James Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Relatives of champion Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, critically injured in a fall last week, abruptly canceled a news conference they had planned for Monday to provide an update on her condition.
The briefing scheduled at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City was to have been the first on Burke's medical status since she suffered a traumatic brain injury last Tuesday during a half-pipe run at Park City Mountain Resort.
The 29-year-old athlete, an early favorite to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2014 Winter Games, underwent surgery on Wednesday but as of Friday doctors said she remained in critical condition with an uncertain prognosis.
On Monday, reporters who gathered at the hospital for a formal update were handed a statement from her family instead.
It said her husband and fellow skier, Rory Bushfield, and other members of the family met on Sunday night with physicians "to discuss the results of Sarah's most recent neurological tests and assessments."
"Based on the information they received, we regret to inform you that they have decided to cancel today's press conference in order for further tests to be conducted this morning and in the coming days," the statement said.
The family asked that the media "respect their privacy" and said future updates would be released via Burke's website, www.sarahburkeski.com.
Few details have been released about the accident.
Peter Judge, chief executive of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, said she was not attempting a new trick or "anything out of the norm" at the time of her spill.
Burke, considered one of the world's leading half-pipe skiers and an ambassador for her sport, 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 in Sochi, Russia.
(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)