No Race to Save Face: Lindsey Vonn’s Concussion

February 17, 2011


The US Skiing and Snowboard Association’s win-at-all-costs approach and laissez-faire efforts at diagnosing brain injuries are dangerous to both skiing and its athletes.

Lindsey Vonn won the silver medal in the downhill at the world ski championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in spite of her clearly being concussed (click article here). That the US Ski Team would misdiagnose her condition and allow her to ski at speeds up to 90 mph on a course renowned for its spectacular crashes is careless and potentially negligent.

It brings to mind Vince Lombardi’s infamous quote, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the  ….”  Uhhh, how does that go again?

Postscript – Somehow between Ms. Vonn sustaining a concussion in a fall on February 2 training run and miraculously recovering from her brain injury in time to win the silver medal at the world championships on February 13, she relapsed and has withdrawn from subsequent world championship races (click article here). I wonder if media criticism (click article here), Ms. Vonn’s confession (‘I definitely am injured’), or anger from some corners of the ski racing community (click article here – Canadian alpine skier Kelly VanderBeek asked ‘Who are Lindsey’s handler and who in their right mind would clear her to race?’) affected the decision to withdraw. Regardless of the motivation of the US Ski Team’s change of heart, it is proper that Ms. Vonn not race until she is recovered and we wish her well on the road to a speedy recovery.

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