Safety questioned after X Games accidents

Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

ASPEN, Colo., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Caleb Moore's snowmobile crash and injuries at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., have left some participants questioning the safety of their sports.

The annual winter competition, this year at Aspen's Buttermilk ski area, has had a somber feel since Thursday's accident in which Moore, 25, crashed his snowmobile in freestyle competition, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.

Sunday it was announced his condition worsened as a cardiac injury led to a brain complication. He remained in critical condition in a Grand Junction, Colo., hospital, the newspaper said.

A New Zealand skier, Rose Battersby, 19, sustained a fractured back while practicing Sunday.

"When is enough enough?" asked Paul Thacker, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, back at the X Games to compete in adaptive snowmobile racing after a 2010 accident left him a paraplegic. "It's kind of like you tell me I can't do something and I'll show you how I can. It's how we are wired."

Thacker formerly held the world record for jumping his snowmobile 301 feet.

Assessing and mitigating risk is a big part of the X Games, the newspaper noted, as athletes raise the bar with gravity-defying artistry once thought impossible.

"These are inherent risks in the sport, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't believe in myself," said Canadian medal-winner Kaya Turski. "Still, it is a fine line, and I've crossed that line a few times."

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