Injured Professional Skier Sarah Burke Reportedly Not in a Coma

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 12, 2012 4:36 pm

Professional Freestyle Skier Sarah Burke remains in critical condition Thursday afternoon after undergoing a life-saving surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn vertebral artery.

Since learning this morning that the procedure was in fact a success, there has been little news in regards to how this operation will affect the young skier and what it means to her recovery. 

We have gotten word from those within Burke’s camp at the hospital that Sarah is not in a coma. The individual we spoke with can be considered to be an extremely reliable source. They were unable to speculate as to the specifics of her condition or say what is planned going forward, however they could confirm that Sarah is not currently in a coma.

The surgeon, William T. Couldwell, M.D. Ph.D elaborated upon the situation in a statement released earlier this morning, “With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making definitive pronouncements about Sarah’s prognosis for recovery,” said Couldwell. “Our Neuro Critical Care team will be monitoring her condition and response continuously over the coming hours and days.”

When Sarah fell in the Park City Superpipe she experienced a violent twisting motion that caused the tear to the vertebral artery located in her neck. The artery plays a critical role in supplying blood to the brainstem and the back part of the brain, in areas that control many vital functions such as balance and vision. The severity of Sarah’s injury will depend upon how much this tear interrupted blood flow to the brain or how extensive the bleeding was.

As of now, we are just going to have to play the waiting game and hope for the best.

More updates to follow as they become available.