Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke's family had planned to hold a Monday news conference about Burke's condition, but instead cancelled it early in the morning after speaking with Burke's physicians, according to reports.
Burke, a four-time superpipe Winter X Games champion and 2005 halfpipe world gold medalist, fell and then whiplashed onto her side last Tuesday at the Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah after landing a practice run trick on the halfpipe ramp. The 29-year-old was then treated at the scene before being flown by helicopter to the University of Utah Hospital, going into an induced coma and finally having surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn vertebral artery that caused cranial bleeding.
Burke's family released a statement Monday, giving some explanation of the decision to cancel in what seems like a sign of worse news to come:
Late last night, Rory Bushfield, Sarah's husband, and members of her family met with physicians to discuss the results of Sarah's most recent neurological tests and assessments, said Nicole Wool, Burke's' public relations person. Based on the information they received, we regret to inform you that they have decided to cancel today's press conference in order for further tests to be conducted this morning and in the coming days.
Wool continued: The family wants to express their deep appreciation for the overwhelming support Sarah has received from all over the world. They ask that everyone continue to keep Sarah and Rory in their prayers. Rory and Sarah's family remain at the hospital.
Reports say that more tests will be done and future updates on Burke's condition will come through her website.
Burke, who also went into cardiac arrest immediately after her accident, according to reports, has been in critical condition at the hospital's Clinical Neurosciences Center in Salt Lake City since last Thursday.
With traumatic brain injury, our care is focused on addressing the primary injury and preventing secondary brain damage, as well as managing other injuries sustained at the time of the accident; all of which requires close monitoring and intensive care, said hospital neurointensivist Safdar Ansari, who is coordinator of the team caring for Burke, in a statement. At this moment, Sarah needs more time before any prognosis can be determined.
The vertebral artery that was torn is located in the neck and supplies blood to the brainstem. Experts say that if the bleeding that disrupts blood flow to the brain is serious enough, Burke's injury can lead to brain damage or even death.
Burke, widely considered a freestyle skiing pioneer who played a major role in getting halfpipe added to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, was preparing to defend her ski superpipe title at this year's Winter X Games, which begin Jan. 26 in Aspen, Colo.