Does it seem to you like the injuries at the Winter X-Games are getting a little out of control? Well, there might be a very good reason for that. You see, these are athletes who thrive on adrenaline, and the bigger the risk the greater the rush. But there’s no rush in doing the same old tricks and stunts over and over again, and for that reason these extreme athletes are constantly pushing the envelope.
Single flip on a snowmobile? Awesome. Now how about a double? And now how about a triple?
So if you’re wondering why the injuries have been piling up the last two years, there’s my theory. And, to drive the point home, today we’re going to take a look at the notable injuries from the last two years of the Winter X-Games.
I hope you like extreme sports carnage.
Okay, this one wasn't serious. The most famous snowboarder in the world (indeed, the only one who is a household name) suffered a minor ankle sprain on a training run for the men's snowboard slopestyle at the 2012 X-Games. This forced him to withdraw from that competition, but he was able to rest up and heal in time for his bread and butter—the snowboard superpipe—which he won. But it was a scary moment for the organizers. Had they lost White for the entire Games, they would have lost the entire event's biggest draw. So I consider this one significant.
11. Shaun White (2012)
This injury wasn't as significant as Shaun White's "sorta" injury could have been in terms of advertising and TV viewership, but it was bigger in terms of severity and its effect on the competition. You see, France's Ophelie David was four-time X-Games champ in women's ski cross and was favored to win again in 2012. But she wiped out during a practice run and fractured her fibula. Because, yeah, even practicing these sports is risky.
Speaking of which, our next entry also injured herself on a practice run...
10. Ophelie David (2012)
Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis also suffered an injury during a training run at the Winter X-Games last year. In fact, it was on the same course (the ski/snowboard cross course) as Ophelie David. However, Jacobellis' injury was worse. She tore her ACL, which we all know has a very long recovery time.
At the time, of course, she said she looked forward to rehabbing and getting back out there this year. Unfortunately, the folks at ESPN inexplicably decided to cancel the snowboard and ski cross events at the 2013 Winter X-Games. So that ACL injury was the end of Jacobellis's X-Games career, unless she decided to try a new event in the future.
9. Lindsey Jacobellis (2012)
Miraculously, when Sammy Carlson crashed and suffered a partial MCL tear in his right knee during the Big Air finals at the 2012 Winter X-Games, it was his first serious skiing injury. And he didn't even require surgery.
Of course, the kid was just 23 years old then, and now that he's got some scar tissue building in that knee he's sure to injure it a lot more in the future. (It's almost as if strapping 70 inch planks to both your feet and jumping off ramps is a recipe for twisting your knee.)
8. Sammy Carlson (2012)
American snowmobile rider Justin Hoyer suffered what was, without a doubt, the most gruesome injury at the 2012 Winter X-Games. During the Snowmobile "Best Trick" competition, Hoyer attempted the extremely rare* double backflip and, unfortunately, did not pull it off. Instead, Hoyer crashed and mangled his arm. (As you may have guessed, this video is not for the squeamish.)
*As far as I know, the only time this has been done successfully was at the 2009 Winter X-Games by Levi Lavelle. Correct me if I'm wrong, extreme snowmobiling experts.
7. Justin Hoyer (2012)
We told you about this one the other day. During the Best Trick competition on Sunday, Australia's Jackson Strong (who also competes at the Summer X-Games in motocross) wiped out performing a trick. And while Strong walked away from the crash without injury, the throttle on his snowmobile got stuck and the thing sped off into the crowd, injuring one spectator. That spectator, a teenage male, suffered some sort of knee injury of unknown severity, either from getting hit by the runaway snowmobile or from diving out of the way.
6. The Unlucky Fan (2013)
Icelandic snowboarder Halldor Helgason needed a perfect score on his final run of the qualifying heat in the Big Air competition to qualify for the final. So he did what any snowboarder would do when face with that situation: he attempted something insanely difficult. Then he did another thing that almost any snowboarder would do: he took a 75-foot fall and crashed hard.
According to ESPN's initial reports, the guy suffered a concussion and, for a time, lost consciousness. Looking at the video, that sounds about right.
5. Halldor Helgason (2013)
American Ashley Battersby's injury during the women's ski slopestyle competition wasn't very gruesome. But I doubt it felt particularly good when she broke her left leg.
The crazy thing, though, is that another unrelated woman with the same last name also suffered an injury in women's ski slopestyle. And she had it a lot worse...
4. Ashley Battersby (2013)
Rose Battersby fractured a vertebra in her back in a crash during a practice run on the 2013 Winter X-Games slopestyle course. The 19-year-old New Zealander had surgery at a Denver hospital on Monday, January 28, and is expected to make a full recovery...in about 6 months.
Sounds like a fun rehab to me. Where I can take some slopestyle skiing lessons?
3. Rose Battersby (2013)
Last Thursday, Texas native Colten Moore, 23, over-rotated his snowmobile during a jump in the freestyle competition and came down hard. Though he wanted to continue and take his second run, his father insisted he go to the hospital, where it was discovered that Colten had a dislocated hip.
The precaution on behalf of Colten's father was understandable. Just 30 minutes prior to his crash, his older brother, Caleb, had also crash and been sent to the hospital...
2. Colten Moore
Unlike his little brother, Caleb Moore, 25, under-rotated his snowmobile on a jump. And also unlike his little brother, Caleb's injury is life-threatening.
At first he was diagnosed with just a concussion, as he was able to walk off the course. But later, at the hospital, he was diagnosed with a heart contusion, and this condition apparently caused a serious unspecified brain complication.
Now Caleb Moore is clinging to life. His grandfather told the Denver Post last night that he probably won't make it, but his mom hasn't lost hope and has said he is fighting.
Let's hope that his mom's optimism is rewarded.