Shaun White, professional snowboarder and skateboarder, two time Olympic gold medalist, and record-holder for the most X-Games gold medals, is already a legend. But this past October, while training to make the U.S. Olympic team, White suffered a gnarly injury to his face that resulted in 62 stitches. Last night, Yahoo! Sports released the first episode of an eight-part documentary titled Snow Pack: Shaun White and the U.S Snowboard Team, which starts with his gruesome injury.
Warning: The video below contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some viewers.
The video includes grisly images of the injury as it happened and what came afterwards. On Oct. 20, 2017, during preseason training at New Zealand's Cardona Snow Park, White, 31, fell face-first onto a bank of snow, then totally lost control and continued falling. He was then airlifted to a nearby hospital.
“I scared myself. I never really had that much blood coming out of me before,” White told coach J.J. Thomas in the hospital.
The documentary follows White into the hospital and includes some personal footage of the snowboarder detailing his progress while the doctors take care of him. The bottom part of his injured face is blurred at points, but the blood and swelling are still clearly visible. He receives 62 stitches to his face. However, the day after the surgery, White’s lungs began to fill with blood. The episode ends just as White is rushed to intensive care. Talk about a cliffhanger.
Although the overall mood is pretty grim, it appears as though White did make it out okay. In the beginning of the episode, White shared some reflections on how the competition has affected his everyday life. White missed out on the Olympics last year, so he is currently on his fourth try to make it onto the U.S. Olympic team.
“After losing the last Olympics, I found a lot of clarity in myself and how involved my world is and how big it is compared to these little things I was focusing on, just winning,” White says near the beginning of the doc. “I finally took the blinders off. I’m so thankful for being able to see all the things that are around me and I can now enjoy.”
According to USA Today, White still has two more qualifying events to go: one at Snowmass, Colorado and another in Mammoth Mountain, California.