Sun, Jan 25, 2009 - Page 19 News List

World champion skier stable one day after training crash

AP , INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA

Swiss skier Daniel Albrecht remained in stable condition on Friday, a day after being placed in an induced coma following a downhill training crash.

Albrecht’s brain and lung injuries could have been life-threatening if complications had occurred overnight, said Dr. Norbert Mutz, medical director of Innsbruck University hospital’s intensive care unit.

“But as with his current condition, there is no need to worry about that too much,” he said.

Albrecht’s brain was not swollen and his blood circulation and lung functions were stable.

“To what extent we will be able to keep his condition as it is, I can’t tell,” Mutz said. “For now, we might hope there will be no permanent damage to his health.”

Doctors had not yet woken up Albrecht.

“The induced coma is there to protect the organs,” Mutz said. “We are constantly monitoring him to check whether he won’t need that protection anymore.”

Albrecht lost control after flying through the air for about 40m, landed on his back and came to a stop near the finish line at Thursday’s World Cup downhill training on the infamous Streif course in Kitzbuehel.

He lost consciousness and received medical attention for about 20 minutes before being taken by helicopter to a hospital in nearby St. Johann. He was later transported to the hospital in Innsbruck.

“Daniel had a quiet night and all vital functions were stable,” Swiss team doctor Jacques Menetrey said earlier on Friday after speaking to Albrecht’s parents, who flew from Switzerland to Innsbruck late on Thursday.

“Daniel is now the medical responsibility of the doctors in Innsbruck,” Menetrey said. “They are doing further examinations and will decide what’s best to do.”

Menetrey said it was too early to assess Albrecht’s chances of full recovery.

“With this kind of [brain] injuries, it needs a couple of days before you can judge that,” Menetrey said. “But all vital parameters are stable now and that’s the best we could hope for.”

The 25-year-old Albrecht is the reigning super-combined world champion and has four career World Cup victories — three in giant slalom and one in super-combi. He has two GS wins this season, at Soelden, Austria, and Alta Badia, Italy, and is eighth in the overall World Cup standings.

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