Snowmobiler Caleb Moore dies after X-Games crash

Feb 1, 2013 | Sports

Caleb Moore died from complications of a head injury following a crash at the Winter X Games. Courtesy Business Insider

Caleb Moore died from complications of a head injury following a crash at the Winter X Games. Courtesy Business Insider

Compiled by Cindy McKenney

The extreme sports world is mourning the death of snowmobiler Caleb Moore.

The 25-year-old Texas native was seriously injured in a crash on Jan. 24 during a run at the winter X-Games in Aspen, Co., and died in a local hospital Thursday morning.

The death is the first directly linked to the X-Games in 18 years of extreme sports competition.

Moore was attempting a back flip in the freestyle snowmobile event in the competition last week when the skis of his snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area. Moore flew over the handle bars and landed face-first in the snow and the 450 pound snowmobile rolled over him, the CBC reported.

According to the CBC, Moore walked away from the crash but complications arose while he was undergoing treatment for a concussion in hospital.

The accident is raising questions about safety at the X-Games.

According to sports website Deadspin, spectators and athletes were saddened by the news of Moore’s accident, but nobody was surprised.

“The reason the X-Games are increasingly risky is because every year, it requires more to win. Each year, somebody pulls off an incredible stunt nobody has ever done before, and each year, the bar is raised, and each year, the athletes have to brush closer against the upper limits of their capabilities,” the article said.

X-Games officials said in a statement that they would conduct a thorough review of freestyle snowmobiling in light of the tragic accident.

“For 18 years, we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain,” officials said.

At least six other X-Games athletes were sent to the hospital over the course of the competition, including Moore’s younger brother, Colten, New York Times reported.

Colten separated his pelvis in a freestyle skiing accident on the same night and on the same course where Caleb crashed, reports say.

The X-Games is no stranger to tragic accidents.

Last year, Canadian skier Sarah Burke was killed in a training session just two weeks before the winter X-Games. And in 2009, snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who was hosting this year’s competition, was injured in a training accident when he hit his head off the edge of a half pipe. The accident, according to the New York Times, left him in a coma for weeks and he is still unable to compete. A movie called “The Crash Reel” that documents Pearce’s accident and long road to recovery debuted at the X-Games a day before Moore’s accident.

Athletes and celebrities alike have been offering condolences on Twitter.

Moore started as an all-terrain vehicle racer but switched to snowmobiling when he was a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the sport, the Globe and Mail reported. He won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze last season.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Moore’s family said the funeral arrangements are still pending. The family’s full statement can be read here.