Brazilian Olympic skier seriously injured in Park City accident
Matt Dunham, Associated Press file photo
Lais Souza, a former Brazil gymnast Olympian turned Olympic freestyle skiing hopeful, was seriously injured in a training accident in Park City Monday, according to the Brazil Olympic Committee.
The committee said Souza was training with Canadian coach Ryan Snow in Park City when the crash happened. She was taken to the University of Utah Medical Center for surgery on her spine.
"The athlete, who was wearing a helmet, was answered promptly and moved to the Hospital of the University of Utah, where she underwent a surgery in the cervical spine," the committee wrote in a news release.
University of Utah Health Care released a news release saying that Souza is recovering at the Neuro Critical Care Unit following her surgery.
"According to her medical team, Lais underwent surgery to realign and stabilize her spinal column," the university said in the release. "Lais is awake and following commands but unable to move her arms or legs and requires a ventilator to breathe."
According to NBC Sports, Souza was attempting to become the first Olympic gymnast to compete in the Winter Olympics. The 25-year-old competed in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Games.
"Brazil did not automatically qualify for women’s aerials, but was the fourth alternate in reallocation if other countries that did earn spots gave them back," wrote Nick Zaccardi for NBC Sports' Olympic Talk blog. "So far, the top three alternates have been added to the Olympic field, making Brazil the top alternate."
Antonio Marttos, Brazil's team doctor, released a statement with the Brazil Olympic Committee, saying Souza will have a long road to recovery.
"At this time, we can not predict what will be (the) long-term prognosis," Marttos said. "(Souza) is receiving excellent medical care and her medical team is doing everything that she has the best possible recovery."
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