We love watching badass displays of athleticism at the Winter X Games every year, but the death of 25-year-old snowmobiler Caleb Moore today really makes us stop and think: Is the extreme sports competition too extreme?
Moore crashed his snowmobile in Aspen on January 24 during a freestyle event where competitors ride their sleds over a series of jumps. He was attempting a backflip when the skis on his snowmobile got caught on the landing area, sending Moore flying over the handlebars. He landed face first in the snow with his 450-pound sled on top of him.
Moore was taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion, but later developed bleeding around his heart, which demanded emergency surgery. Later, doctors discovered that the crash had also caused complications with his brain.
While Moore’s death marks the first fatality in the 17 year history of the X Games, injuries are all too common. The same night that Caleb Moore was injured, his younger brother Colton, a fellow snowmobiler and X Games competitor, also took a spill and suffered a separated pelvis.
A year ago, 29-year-old Canadian freestyle skiier and X Games champion Sarah Burke fell during practice while attempting a 540-degree spin. She suffered a torn artery in her neck, went into cardiac arrest, and later died due to lack of oxygen to her brain. (Read more: X Games Star Sarah Burke’s Death Raises Debate)
So, what’s next for safety at the Winter X Games? Officials said in a statement that they would conduct a thorough review of freestyle snowmobiling events and make any necessary changes to prevent a replay of Moore’s tragic death.
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