Markus Schairer, an Austrian snowboarder, broke his neck during a fall in a quarterfinals race on Thursday at the Winter Olympics but still managed to finish his run. Doctors said he escaped any permanent damage.
Schairer fractured his fifth cervical vertebrae after he launched into the air and failed to land the jump, then crashed to the ground on his back and neck, USA Today reported.
The force of the impact sent Schairer’s goggles flying off his head as his competitors passed on their way to the nearby finish line.
Despite this, the determined athlete still managed to finish the race.
Schairer was in fourth place before his fall, The Washington Post reported, and had hurt his elbow in a crash during an earlier run.
Schairer didn’t sustain any neurological impairments, the Austrian Olympic Committee announced, and there was no risk of further damage, Yahoo Sports reported. He was expected to be transported back to Austria to receive further treatment.
Before Schairer’s crash, competitors had already voiced concerns that the track was too dangerous, with Austrian racer Even Alessandro Haemmerle saying he was “just glad that I'm down safe,” after finishing first in the Small Final, The Express reported.
Schairer’s career has been marred with injury, according to his Olympic biography.
In December 2013, Schairer fractured a joint and tore four ligaments in his left shoulder when he fell during training, and in January 2010 he broke five ribs in a fall in the quarterfinals of the Winter X Games in Aspen.
Adding to his woes, Schairer’s 2007/2008 season came to an abrupt end when he suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee in February 2008.
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