Crashes call X Games' safety into question
TribLIVE Sports Videos
ASPEN, Colo. — The image was chilling: Snowmobile rider Caleb Moore, launched over his handlebars on a backflip gone wrong, rolled down the landing hill with his 450-pound machine somersaulting behind him.
Run over by his sled, Moore lay on the snow for several minutes before being helped off the course. As of Wednesday, he was hospitalized in critical condition because of bleeding around his heart and a complication involving his brain.
Moore's was the worst accident at the Winter X Games, which wrapped up Sunday night, but it wasn't the only harrowing moment. The wipeouts included a runaway snowmobile that sent spectators scrambling. All that has some wondering whether dialing up the difficulty each year improves action sports or has simply made them too dangerous.
“Should we be asking these questions? We absolutely should be,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, which examines the role of sports to promote healthy development and social responsibility.
The people performing these superhuman feats “really are just human,” he said. “How do we maintain safety in that progression when that progression sometimes pushes every envelope to some amazingly extreme point?”
Moore's injuries underscore the dangers at Winter X, which was filled with numerous cover-your-eyes crashes.
Whether action sports are too dangerous is an issue that's been raised before.
When freestyle skier Sarah Burke died in a training accident a little more than a year ago in Park City, Utah, there were questions about the halfpipe. Two years earlier, the sport was examined when snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a fall in the same pipe as Burke. Pearce has recovered and served as an analyst at Winter X.
But in general, the athletes accept the risks and defend their disciplines.
“To lose Sarah was such a blow to this entire industry,” said snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, who didn't compete this year as she recovered from a serious eye injury she suffered in training. “This sport brings so much joy, happiness and balance to my life and that far outweighs what could happen. You can't ever live your life with what could happen.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- Overnight snowfall plagues public transportation, schools, commuters
- Angry fans cited in shortage of refs in Western Pennsylvania
- Wolf’s Pa. budget plan seen as having almost no chance
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Springdale Twp. police car crashes into veterinary clinic
- Dermatologist led UPMC residency program
- Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina
- Supreme Court split on Obamacare subsidies