Snowboarding-Austria's Schairer to return home after breaking neck

Posted February 16, 2018

The Austrian Olympic Committee confirmed snowboarder Markus Schairer broke his neck while competing in the quarterfinal run on Thursday.

"Snowboard crosser Markus Schairer suffered a fracture of the fifth cervical vertebra during his fall in the quarterfinals in Bokwang".

The 30-year-old three-time Olympian lost control on the next-to-last jump of the run, soaring into the air with his arms flailing before crashing down and landing on his back. He fell to the ground back-first with a hard, sudden crash that sent his goggles flying off of his helmet.

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He is expected to be taken back to Austria for further evaluation and treatment.

Before Schairer's crash, competitors had already voiced concerns that the track was too risky, with Austrian racer Even Alessandro Haemmerle saying he was "just glad that I'm down safe", after finishing first in the Small Final, The Express reported.

Schairer had suffered an elbow injury in a crash during a previous event on Thursday, ESPN reported. The 30-year-old appeared in Vancouver and Sochi's Games as well.

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In February 2008, Schairer tore the cruciate ligament in his knee.

In 2013, he ruptured four shoulder ligaments and fractured a joint in a training accident.

Schairer's career has been marred with injury, according to his Olympic biography.

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