Nine days ago Sarah Burke hit her head at the base of a superpipe at Park City Ski Resort in Utah during training; she'd been in a coma ever since. This morning, shortly after 9 a.m., Burke passed away from injuries sustained during the fall.
Burke played an instrumental role in getting women included in competitive action sports, and was set to be a leader for the Canadian freestyle skiing team in the sport's first appearance in the Olympics in 2014. She won Winter X Games gold four times, medaled four other times, and was the first woman to land 720s, 900s, and 1080s in competition. She has left an imprint that will set the course of the sport for years to come.
When Burke fell, she ruptured her vertebral artery, one of four main arteries to the brain, causing her to go into cardiac arrest and subsequently slip into a coma. Although surgery on Jan. 11 successfully repaired the intracranial hemorrhage, the lack of oxygen and blood during cardiac arrest did irreversible damage, resulting in her death. At her previous request, her organs will be donated and go towards helping others in need.
I had the privilege of speaking to Sarah on the phone the morning of the accident, and she was one of the most positive, easy-going people I've talked to. Clearly, the sport of freeskiing has lost one of its leading lights. Please keep her family, friends, and the entire action sports community in your thoughts.