An aspiring Olympian from Brazil suffered a devastating cervical spinal cord injury while training in Park City on Monday. According to a press release from the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, as of Thursday the 25-year-old aerials skier, Lais Souza, was being treated in the hospital's Neuro Critcal Care Unit and was reportedly unable to move her arms or legs. However, doctors said she was conscious and able to respond to commands.
Park City Mountain Resort Communications Manager Andy Miller confirmed the accident took place at the resort on a run called Double Jack which is rated Black Diamond, for experts only. He said Souza was skiing with her coach who was downhill from her when the accident occurred. Resort patrollers responded and Souza was airlifted off the mountain.
The hospital's press release goes on to say that Souza is on a respirator and is slated undergo additional surgeries this week.
Team Brazil's physician released the following assessment of her condition: "Lais has a long recovery ahead of her. At this point, we cannot predict her long-term prognosis. She is receiving excellent medical care and her medical team is doing everything they can to ensure the best possible recovery,"
Souza is an accomplished gymnast who competed for Brazil in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. Her ambition was to become her country's first Winter Olympic aerialist.
- Nan Chalat Noaker