Lais Souza, Sochi Skiing Hopeful, Can't Move Arms, Legs After Accident

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 05:00 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Brazilian gymnast turned freestyle skier Lais Souza suffered "severe trauma" to her spine when she crashed Monday during a training run in Salt Lake City, ending her hopes to compete at the Sochi Olympics.

According to The Associated Press, Souza, 25, can't move her arms or legs, and is breathing through the help of ventilators, the Brazilian Olympic Committee said. She is awake and following commands at an intensive care unit of University of Utah Hospital.

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"Lais has a long recovery process in front of her," Team Brasil doctor Antonio Marttos said in a statement. "A long-term prognostic cannot be predicted at this time. Her medical team is doing everything possible to allow her to have the best recovery possible."

Souza was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the BOC said, saying only that she wasn't injured while practicing freestyle maneuvers. She had yet to qualify for next month's Sochi Games, but was expected to earn a place on Team Brazil.

The sport of freestyle skiing dealt with tragedy in 2012, when Canadian half pipe star Sarah Burke died after being injured during a training session in Park City, Utah. Her friends are wearing snowflake-shaped necklaces to the Sochi Olympics that resemble a tattoo Burke had on her foot, the AP reported.

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