Snowboarder Markus Schairer Breaks Neck in Horrifying Crash at the Winter Olympics
Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer was seriously injured in a horrific crash on Thursday during his run in a quarterfinal heat at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
During the end of his run in the men’s snowboardcross event, Schairer lost control while mid-air and crash-landed on his backside — and the force of the impact was so great that the three-time Olympian’s goggles broke from his helmet as competitors boarded past him. Schairer was unable to move for minutes after the crash, but the 30-year-old was eventually able to strap on his board and rise to his feet without help. He crossed the finish line before waving to the crowd.
According to NBC, Schairer was then transported to a hospital where it was determined he broke the fifth cervical vertebra in his neck.
The Austrian Olympic Committee announced in a statement that it appears Schairer suffered no long-term neurological damage and that he would fly back to Austria to receive further treatment.
Before the frightening crash, Schairer injured his elbow in an earlier event on Thursday.
Schairer has also experienced several injuries before: he ripped four ligaments in his left shoulder while training at the end of 2013, and broke five ribs at the Winter X Games in Aspen in 2010, according to ESPN. He also ruptured a ligament in his knee during 2008.
There have been a series of scary crashes so far at the Olympics, including two accidents that involved camera operators. Swiss skier Lara Gut wiped out during the women’s giant slalom and took out a photographer in the process. After the crash, Gut talked about the danger of taking pictures of speeding athletes on the mountain.
“I‘m okay, I‘m okay,” she said, according to Reuters. “I asked the photographer if he was okay too and he said he was. I think it’s getting scary to be a photographer on skiing hills.”