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Injured Russian Olympic skier evacuated to Germany

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm •  Published: February 16, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Olympic skicross racer Maria Komissarova has been airlifted to Germany for further treatment after surgery on her fractured spine, the Russian freestyle ski federation said Sunday.

The 23-year-old Komissarova crashed during a training run Saturday, fracturing the 12th dorsal vertebrae in her lower-middle back, and underwent emergency surgery lasting 6 ½ hours.

"Masha Komissarova was rendered all necessary medical care at this stage by Russian doctors," the federation said in a statement. "By the decision of her relatives, she is being sent for further treatment to a clinic in Munich, Germany, specializing in the treatment of this kind of injury."

A team of specialists inserted a metal implant in Komissarova's spine in a successful operation, the federation said, though they declined to discuss the skier's prognosis.

R-Sport quoted Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko as saying Komissarova would have another operation and rehabilitation in Munich, adding "We are trying to make everything OK."

Komissarova was listed as being in a "grave but stable" condition earlier Sunday, on a day when two women's snowboardcross riders were carried off on stretchers after bad falls in qualifying and British women's halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire sustained a concussion after hitting her head in practice. British team officials opted to keep Cheshire at a local hospital overnight as a precaution.

The IOC said it had no concerns over the skicross and snowboard cross course conditions and maintained that there have been no more crashes and injuries than in previous Winter Games.

"Health and safety of the athletes is our No. 1 priority," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said. "At this stage, we don't see anything abnormal compared with Vancouver in terms of accidents and injuries."

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Komissarova in the hospital on Saturday night. Photographs and television footage showed Putin at her bedside, wearing a white hospital coat and holding her right arm. Komissarova was heard speaking to him.

Medical staff briefed Putin on the surgery and further treatment, and the president "wished her a speedy recovery," the statement said.

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