LIFE

Olympic Snowboarder Breaks His Neck After Losing Control On A Jump And Still Gets Up To Finish

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

The Winter Olympics can get pretty intense. Case in point: what happened to Markus Schairer during a quarterfinal race in men’s snowboard cross.

The Austrian snowboarder was competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on February 15, 2018, when he wiped out in a horrific way. During the penultimate jump of the course, Markus, in fourth place at the time, went flying through the air alongside his fellow competitors. Unfortunately, he lost control and landed badly.

While winter sport athletes become somewhat accustomed to wipeouts, the way Markus landed left him with a broken neck. Markus reportedly landed on his upper back and neck, resulting in a fracture of his fifth cervical vertebra. The crash was so intense that it caused Markus’ goggles to pop off his face and fly across the snow.

Incredibly, despite the impact and losing his goggles, the 30-year-old athlete was still determined to finish the race and did so without any assistance, according to USA Today. He was immediately taken away for medical assistance.

According to a statement from the Austrian Olympic Committee, doctors think that Markus miraculously avoided serious permanent damage and has so far shown no signs of neurological impairment after the fall. He headed back to Austria for treatment.

Markus, who also competed in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, is no stranger to injuring himself in competition. According to his Olympic profile, Markus broke five of his ribs in a crash in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

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Photo: Getty Images / Cameron Spencer

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