X Games snowmobiler was declared brain dead | PostIndependent.com

X Games snowmobiler was declared brain dead

Caleb Moore, the athlete who died of injuries he suffered in a snowmobiling competition in the Winter X Games, was declared brain dead Thursday morning but was kept alive throughout the day so the process could be completed for organ donations, according to the Pitkin County Coroner’s office.

Moore, 25, suffered heart and brain injuries in a horrific crash Jan. 24 during a freestyle event at Buttermilk Ski Area. He was declared brain dead at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 31 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, a statement from the Pitkin County Coroner’s office said.

An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death. Results are pending. The manner of death is accidental, the coroner’s office said.

ESPN, producer of the X Games, reported in a story on Thursday that in previous all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile competitions over the years, Moore had suffered eight concussions, a broken back, a torn ACL in his left knee, a broken ankle and a broken wrist.

Moore’s death has sparked debate about the safety of the X Games. ESPN officials have remained mostly mum on the subject. The TV sports network released a statement Thursday that said they would conduct a review of freestyle snowmobiling events and adopt any appropriate changes.

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

A Pitkin County official said broad-ranging safety discussions will be held with ESPN as part of the review for a special event permit for the 2014 Winter X Games, which will also be held at Buttermilk. The county requires helmets for all events and it requires all athletes to have proof of insurance.

ESPN also had to provide proof of adequate liability insurance for the 2013 event to earn the special-event permit from Pitkin County. That proof shows the insured party was The Walt Disney Co. of Burbank, Calif., parent of ESPN, which produces the X Games.

Three companies provided the insurance, according to the document. Disney was insured for up to $2 million for medical expenses for personal injury, $1 million per occurrence, the certificate shows.

It isn’t clear if the liability insurance policy will come into play in Moore’s case.

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