Austrian Snowboarder Markus Schairer Breaks Neck After Terrifying Crash

Video shows the athlete landing flat on his back after a jump.

Austria’s Markus Schairer suffered a broken neck after a terrifying crash during the men’s snowboardcross quarterfinals at the Winter Olympics on Thursday.

Schairer fractured his fifth cervical vertebra. Video of the fall shows the 30-year-old landing flat on his back after a jump toward the end of the course. His goggles flew off his helmet as he lay on the ground. 

According to a statement from the Austrian Olympic Committee, doctors believed Schairer had escaped serious permanent damage and showed no neurological impairments after the crash.

The athlete, who also competed at the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics, managed to stand up and ride to the end of the course after his horrific fall. He was in fourth place at the time of the crash. 

Earlier this week during the men’s halfpipe competition, 16-year-old snowboarder Yuto Totsuka of Japan also suffered a gruesome-looking fall and had to be taken off the course in a stretcher. Officials said he did not suffer any serious injury from the crash, and Totsuka later posted on Instagram that he was OK.