Maria Komissarova, a Russian freestyle skier, was severely injured during a training accident in Sochi, and now has no feeling in her body from the waist down.
Komissarova, 23, crashed on Feb. 15 during a training run. She fractured the 12th dorsal vertebrae, located in her lower back. During emergency surgery that lasted more than six hours, a metal rod was implanted into her spine. At the time, doctors did not give a prognosis, but listed her condition as "grave but stable."
On Feb. 16, Komissarova was airlifted to Germany for further treatment, but not before she received a visit from Russian president Vladimir Putin, who wished her well.
With the passage of several days, it appears the prognosis is grim. "I do not feel my body lower than my belly button," Komissarova wrote in Russian on her Instagram account. "But I am strong and know that some day I will definitely be on my feet again."
Komissarova's accident occurred on the skicross course, at the end of a series of three jumps. While several other skiers were injured, course conditions were not blamed for the injuries.
"We are following athletes' health and safety very carefully," IOC spokesman Mike Adams said immediately after Komissarova's wreck. "We're monitoring it. I spoke to the people who are doing the monitoring, and this morning they told me they don't appear to have any difference from previous games."
There were several other injuries over the course of the Games, most notably a bobsled worker who broke both legs when he was standing in the track and was hit by a sled. But Komissarova's is by far the most severe.
"Even in these moments I continue to be happy," Komissarova wrote, "though it's very hard."
She thanked her boyfriend Alex Chaadayev (pictured together below) for his support and vowed someday to "be on my feet again."
- Disease & Medical Conditions