Caleb Moore Dies: X Games Snowmobiler Dead One Week After Crash; Did Grandfather Foreshadow Death?
Caleb Moore dies after suffering devastating injuries from a horrific crash a year after Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died from irreversible brain damage during training in Park City, Utah. (Photo: Facebook / CalebMooreFMX)
Snowmobiler Caleb Moore died at the age of 25 on Thursday as a result of injuries he suffered in a crash while competing in the Snowmobile Freestyle final at the X Games exactly one week ago, according to USA Today investigative reporter Rachel George, who first broke the story.
A spokesman for the family of snowmobiler Caleb Moore, who was injured in the #XGames, says that he passed away this morning.
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— Rachel George (@RachelAGeorge) January 31, 2013
Moore's death marks another addition to the seemingly increasing deaths involving extreme sports in recent years, especially winter sports, but it is also the first of the Winter X Games, which had its 17th edition in Aspen, Colo., last week.
Moore's family released a statement.
"This morning Caleb Moore passed away. He will be truly missed and never forgotten.
The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for all the prayers and support they have received from all the fans, friends and family around the world that Caleb has inspired.
They would also like to thank the physicians and medical staff at both Aspen Valley Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital, Grand Junction for their care and dedication.
At this time, the family will not be making any other public statements. They continue to decline interviews. Thank you for continuing to respect the family's privacy during this difficult time.
Arrangements for a celebration of life are being made and an announcement will be made in the coming days."
ESPN also released a statement.
"We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore's passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Wade and Michelle, his brother, Colten, and the entire Moore family. He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends, and he will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action sports community."
ESPN X Games officials also added that that they will "conduct a thorough review of the snowmobiling discipline" and "adopt any appropriate changes" while maintaining to work closely on safety issues with athletes and other sports experts.
Moore's death looked to be foreshadowed on Wednesday when his grandfather Charles Moore told the Denver Post that "it's almost certain he's not going to make it," referring to his grandson when asked at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction to give an update on his condition after the horrific crash.
Moore, a Krum, Texas, native, tried to nail an indy air backflip late in his first run at Buttermilk Mountain, but came up short on the landing. His snowmobile, weighing 450 pounds, was still rotating when it hit the ramp and its skis dug into the snow near the top, causing it to flip end-over-end down the hill. After rotating 360 degrees, the skis landed on Moore as he tumbled down the ramp.
Moore finally came to a rest on his back, unconscious, with his arms and legs splayed out on the snow. However, when he woke up, he was able to answer questions and walked away from the hill.
Medical staff rushed Moore to Aspen Valley Hospital with a concussion, but doctors there discovered bleeding around his heart. As a result, he was then flown to Grand Junction's St. Mary's Hospital where doctors performed emergency heart surgery on Friday morning. Moore was recovering in intensive care for a heart contusion on Saturday and was reported to be stable, but late Sunday, family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson said that the cardiac injury led to "a secondary complication involving his brain."
On Monday evening, Lawson reissued a statement thanking fans, friends and family for their support and asked for more prayers, but also said that the Moore family wouldn't be making any other public statements.
In an interview before the competition, Moore, who won bronze in the freestyle competition the between 2010 and 2012 X Games, told the New York Times that he estimated he'd had 10 concussions.
Moore and his younger brother, Colten, began competing on snowmobiles four years ago after years of ATV racing beforehand. They entered their first X Games in 2010 after only about a month of snowmobile practice.
Ironically, though, Moore's little brother Colton, 23, was also involved in a horrific accident last Thursday during the Snowmobile Freestyle final when he crashed during a jump, separating his pelvis. He was taken to Aspen Valley hospital immediately after and was released on Saturday with no surgery needed.
Daniel Bodin, 28, crashed, too, during Thursday's event and was treated for a left wrist injury at Aspen Valley Hospital. X-rays revealed no fractures.
"Ten years ago we didn't have foam pits, and it was just a couple of guys who had the foam pits," he told USA Today. "So everything is much safer now days. But still we keep pushing harder and harder, and everyone wants that gold medal. Everyone wants to be the best in the world. We're trying as much as we can ... It's tough out there. We're just pushing so much."
Furthermore, there was also was a scary scene during the 2013 X Games when snowmobiling rookie Jackson Strong fell off his machine during a jump gone wrong during the best trick competition on Sunday night. The throttle got stuck and the snowmobile swerved straight toward the crowd as fans ran out of the way.
Horrific accidents weren't just limited to snowmobiles at this year's X Games either. Rose Battersby suffered a lumbar spine fracture after wiping out on a practice run before the Women's Ski Slopestyle final. She was transported to a Denver hospital on Sunday and luckily had feeling in all her extremities.
Soon after that crash, Ashley Battersby, unrelated to Rose, actually wiped out during her third run of the final and slid into some fencing. She was down for at least 30 minutes before being carted off on a sled and taken to a local hospital with just a knee injury.
Halldor Helgason of Iceland suffered a concussion after he over-rotated on a flip during the Snowboard Big Air competition. However, he raised his hand to salute the crowd as he was being taken off the icy course, signaling all was well.
All of these horrific accidents at one event, particularly Caleb Moore's, call into question the safety of not only snowmobile events, but also all winter competitions.
"When is enough, enough?" asked professional snowmobiler Paul Thacker, rhetorically, to the Denver Post.
The 36-year-old Thacker, who once held the world record for jumping his snowmobile 301 feet, returned to the Winter X Games last weekend to compete in adaptive snowmobile racing after a 2010 training accident left him a paraplegic.
"I'm always asked the question, 'Where's the ceiling?' And every year we are like, 'It's not going to get any gnarlier,'" he said. "They are never going to do a double back. They are never going to do a frontflip. But then it happens. It's kind of like you tell me I can't do something and I'll show you how I can. It's how we are wired."
Thacker went on.
"It's unfortunate that it takes something like this to kind of snap everybody back into reality and show everybody just how gnarly it is, because the guys that are good at it make it look super easy, and it's not. Every time you throw a leg over, it might be the last time."
A website called giveforward.com/calebmoore was set up for anyone to help the Moore family pay upwards of $300,000 in medicals bills and to give more emotional support. As of now, about $27,000 has been raised in Moore's name.