(RIP Sarah Burke)
As a lot of you may have heard (or have seen, for that matter), Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died in a freak accident while training for the Winter X Games. During a practice run, she landed on her head and went into cardiac arrest after performing a trick. She later died from the injury nine days later. Because of these events, people are asking why these things are allowed in the first place; people wonder why it's necessary to take the measures like that and do crazy things in a sport.
Hello? It's a sport. Everything is crazy in a sport.
If you look on the Internet, you can find a handful of cases who died in freak accidents playing sports from football to baseball to lesser mainstream sports such as tennis. Just because these instances are rare doesn't mean they should shut down operations of the sporting art when someone dies.
WE ARE THE 99% ...
...that actually get injured because we actually try to do it right.
Seriously, it's a rehashing of the saying that "it's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out." If you don't get hurt doing something, you're not feeling that risk of what can happen when you truly do it wrong. If people get seriously injured trying to do a stunt that they aren't 100% ready for, then they are going to get hurt and they're going to know not to act like a stupid idiot ever again. However, there are people out there that do extreme things for a living. They know that there's a possibility that injury may occur but they look past that because they've trained and they've measured the pros and cons of something. Did knowing that I could suffer anything from a broken wrist to a concussion stop me from playing soccer? NO! Even when we COOK DINNER we can get hurt. This has happened before, ladies and gentlemen. Freak accidents have happened! People have even made a[n unnecessarily long] horror movie franchise based on these kinds of things.
I guess what you could say is that where there are accidents, adjustments need to be made. Maybe the halfpipes need to be shorter in height, or maybe more padding needs to be involved. Maybe there has to be different measures that have to be taken if medical personnel cannot be present as soon as an accident occurs. These things might not be necessary in certain aspects, but then again...you can never be too safe. (ha ha ha)
These freak accidents can happen to anyone doing just about anything. It's like that show 1000 Ways to Die but more like 1000 Ways to Hurt Yourself and Ask "How Did I Do That?"
Time for a personal FLASHBACK...
I was an eighth grade cheerleader (feel free to laugh here).
I'll admit it--I was a total boy when I was little. I watched all of the action shows and played all of the sports to boot. However, a few years later, I really wanted to try and "fit in." So there I was, an awkward 13-year old girl trying to become more "girly" in a big way. I was going to join my grade school's cheerleading squad. It was so out of left field that my soccer coach even laughed at me for it (not in a serious way, mind you). We did simple cheers, created a routine, and toward the end of the year, we started learning how to do pyramids and mounts. Since I wasn't exactly a teeny-bopper, I ultimately found myself holding up said teeny-boppers and then learning how to catch them once they fell.
This all changed not too long after.
While doing a routine mount with a group of girls--I was in charge of holding the left foot--I began the lift and felt something pinch really awkwardly in my lower back. I managed to hold her up, but once she was put down, oh dear God, I was hurting. I eventually left the group a few weeks after. As for the pain, that subsided after a few weeks. However, because I played other sports, I would aggravate it in strange ways soon after. It went to a point where I was suffering from back spasms and needed my back to be readjusted. The last time I had a major problem was during a soccer practice; I was sprinting downfield and shifted my hips to face the person I was going after. My lower back flared up so badly that I wasn't able to stand for long periods of time. After having my back readjusted again I was placed on a steroid pack. By that point I left my soccer team and started being dormant in sports. I'd like to think my pain is over after doing yoga for two years and how to lift the right way (thanks, Dad).
Whether it's alpine, swimming, soccer, cheerleading, and just about any other sport that isn't chess, you're putting yourself in danger. You're looking fear and injury in the eye for a good amount of it, and if you're not prepared mentally and physically, it's going to happen. I'm not saying that cases like Sarah Burke were expected due to mental or physical lapse, but the environment needs to be prepared for freak injuries or accidents.
If you don't wanna get hurt, then don't get involved. It's as easy as that. If there are extreme athletes out there that do what they do and get up after being injured, more power to them. These are the kinds of people that love what they do--okay, there might be a scratch or bruise or two, but it's all worth it in the end. This whole thing about staring fear in the face makes me think of The Gambler. Go on, listen to the song. It's a toe-tapper.
Let 'em prepare, and let 'em play. It's the time to play. Ask questions later, O.K.?