This Olympic Snowboarder Broke His Neck and Somehow Finished the Race Anyway
Austrian Markus Schairer is one of the daring individuals who was competing in Thursday's snowboard cross competition. The 30-year-old Schairer was in fourth place in the first quarterfinal race when he took a frightening fall.
Something went wrong as the three-time Olympian came off the race's penultimate jump. He doesn't appear to get bumped, but he lost control and came down on his back. He broke the fifth cervical vertebrae in his neck when he landed. He also injured his elbow.
He was on the ground for a while after the fall, but, though he was formally disqualified from the race, Schairer somehow got up and finished the race.
The Austrian Olympic Committee has announced Shairer is returning to Austria to receive treatment. Fortunately, he doesn't appear to have suffered nerve or permanent damage. The Austrian report, via Google Translate, says, "Neurological impairments are not present, consequential damage can currently be ruled out."
Schairer has suffered a number of injuries throughout his career, including a knee injury that cut short his 2007-08 season, five broken ribs at the 2010 X-Games, and four torn ligaments and a fractured joint while training in 2013.
France's Pierre Vaultier handly took home gold at the end of the day. Two Americans made the final race. Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff took fourth and fifth, respectively.
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