Friday, February 12, 2010

Luge Athlete from Nation of Georgia Dies in Training Run

Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed today on a training run down the Whistler Slider Centre. By my calculations based on the speed shown in the corner of the picture, he had been traveling at 89.6 mph.

Apparently, he lost control of his sled during the on of the last turns on his run, flipped over the track wall and hit a steel pole near the finish. Medics were doing CPR on scene and he was airlifted to the hospital. However, when you have cardiac arrest from blunt force trauma, well, from what I have seen (having worked in several ER's when I was younger) your odds of survival are pretty low.

He is the fourth Olympian to die in the history of the Winter Games-- no athlete has died in actual competition.

The nation of Georgia may withdraw from competition.

A female luger from Romania, Violeta Stramaturaru, was knocked unconscious yesterday on the same track.

There are questions on whether this track is too fast.

Here is Video of the luge crash today involving Nodar Kumaritashvili--
Warning: This could be considered graphic-

NBC News showed this video on the news a few minutes ago and I was able to view it better (in HD and on a big screen). It appears that when he came over the wall he struck the pole with his neck and head and that his head was bent forward on impact. In other words, it really looks like he likely broke his neck. Even at a somewhat slower speed, and even if the pole was padded, in my opinion, it probably would not have mattered, unfortunately. With immediate cardiac arrest, he probably broke his neck at a high level (C1-C2), and if that is the case, no amount of heroics from medics or doctors would help.



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