Snowmobiler Caleb Moore died Thursday as a result of injuries he suffered in a crash in the X Games one week ago. The freestyle snowmobiler, attempting a backflip last week at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, couldn’t rotate his machine enough to land the maneuver. The skis dug into the lip of the slope, bringing the 450-pound snowmobile crashing down on him. The vehicle slammed into Moore’s head and chest. He was 25-years-old Moore, a native of Krum, Texas, competed on all-terrain vehicles since his childhood before trying snowmobiles four years ago.
He had emergency surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction on Friday, a day after the accident. He had brain complications, and his family issued a statement saying he was in critical condition and being closely monitored.
Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson released a statement announcing Moore’s death, which occurred Thursday morning at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. The family declined to release any other details of his injuries.
On Thursday, a week after the accident, Moore died.
“They do train all year for this,” said Dr. Christine Trankiem, a trauma surgeon at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. “But it’s important for the folks watching at home to realize that these acts, while exciting to watch, are potentially life-threatening, limb-threatening and brain-threatening acts if an accident should occur.”
It is the first death in the Winter X Games, which had its 17th edition in Aspen last week.
“We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore’s passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Wade and Michelle, his brother, Colten, and the entire Moore family,” ESPN said in a statement released Thursday. “He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends, and he will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action sports community.”
Moore’s injury was one of several at this year’s Winter X Games. His younger brother, Colten, suffered a separated pelvis in the same event. Freestyle skier Rose Battersby, a New Zealander, incurred a spinal fracture, and Icelandic snowboarder Halldor Helgason suffered a concussion.
During one of the jumps on Sunday night, Australian Jack Strong was attempting a backflip on his machine when it got away from him. The runaway snowmobile crashed into a bank of fans. A young boy who hit his knee on a parked vehicle while trying to get away was evaluated and released; other spectators avoided injury. Strong was not seriously injured.
It’s not just the athletes who appear to be at risk.
ESPN, which organizes and televises the X Games, says it is constantly working to ensure the safety of competitors. ESPN added that it will conduct a thorough review of the snowmobiling discipline and adopt any appropriate changes. The company says it works closely on safety issues with athletes and other sports experts.