As the National Ski Areas Association’s National Safety Awareness Week is just around the corner, the country’s eyes are on Sarah Burke, a Canadian freestyle skier who sustained serious injuries Tuesday.According to the latest reports Sarah Burke remains in critical condition at the University of Utah Hospital after a skiing accident that occurred during practice at Park City Mountain Resort.The four-time Winter X-Games champion in half pipe skiing was airlifted to Salt Lake City where she remains listed in critical condition by the University of Utah Hospital’s Neuro Critical Care Unit, according to a press release by the skier’s publicist Nicole Wool.Phone messages inquiring about the accident were not returned by Park City Mountain Resort.On Wednesday, Burke underwent a successful operation to repair a torn artery that was causing hemorrhaging between her brain and skull. The operation was performed by William T. Couldwell, professor and chair of neurosurgery at the hospital, according to a press release by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.Couldwell said Burke’s prognosis for recovery can’t yet be declared until observation of her brain function has been completed. Burke’s family has asked for privacy during this critical stage.Fans and well wishers can direct thoughts and find updates at Burke’s
<a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Burke”>Facebook page.</a>
Even for fellow skiers and boarders not monitoring Burke’s condition, the snow doesn’t fall far from home in Cache Valley. A Logan Regional Hospital Emergency Room document reports 10 snow sport injuries in 2011, excluding injuries from snowmobiles. Injuries in 2010 reached 16. The document did not state if any of those injuries were fatal.Nationally, there are about 40 deaths from skiing and snowboarding accidents per year, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). Also, there are around 43 serious injuries, such as paralysis and traumatic brain injuries, per year. The NSAA report points out that these numbers are low when compared to other kinds of accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents which range in the thousands every year.The NSAA National Safety Awareness week, January 14 to 22, focuses on raising snow sport safety through education. Currently, none of the resorts in Utah are participating with programs for the week. States with participating resorts include Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, Idaho and Vermont. For more on NSAA National Safety Awareness Week, plus safety tips for skiers and boarders, visit www.nsaa.org.