Olympian Mark McMorris Badly Injured in Backcountry Snowboarding Accident

McMorris, who suffered a ruptured spleen and multiple fractures, underwent two surgeries over the weekend and is recovering in a Vancouver hospital.
March 27, 2017, 4:08pm

Canadian snowboard star Mark McMorris is recovering in hospital after undergoing two surgeries following a serious accident during a backcountry trip this weekend.

The 2014 Olympic bronze medalist suffered several injuries, including a fractured jaw, broken left arm, ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures, and a collapsed left lung, according to a statement released Monday by Canada Snowboard.

McMorris, Canada's most high-profile snowboarder, was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital where he underwent a successful surgery to control bleeding from his spleen on Saturday. The 23-year-old then underwent a second surgery on Sunday evening to repair his jaw and arm fractures, according to Canada Snowboard team physician Dr. Rodney J. French.

"While both the mandible and humerus fractures were complicated injuries, the surgeries went very well and both fractures are now stabilized to heal in excellent position. It is too early to speculate on a timeline for Mark's recovery," Dr. French said.

The unfortunate injury comes on the heels of a successful season in which McMorris won three X Games medals and two Crystal Globes—one for the Big Air competition and another as the Overall FIS Freestyle World Cup champion for the 2016/2017 season.

It also comes less than a year away from the start of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where McMorris will be among one of Canada's top medal hopefuls. Patrick Jarvis, Canada Snowboard's Executive Director, said that he believes believes McMorris will be prepared for the rehabilitation required to make a comeback to competition leading into the Winter Games.

McMorris has become a prominent figure in the snowboarding scene after making a name for himself in 2010, when he won the first World Cup slopestyle event he entered as a 16-year-old, and followed that up by making his Winter X Games debut the following year, finishing second.

It was two years later in 2012 when McMorris really made his mark, becoming the first snowboarder since American legend Shaun White to win the double-gold in the slopestyle and big air competitions. McMorris continued his winning ways in 2013, capturing a silver medal in his debut at the FIS Snowboard World Championships. He then successfully defended his slopestyle gold at the Winter X Games in Aspen, after defeating White in the highly anticipated head-to-head showdown between the GOAT and the young Canadian.

McMorris was also the first snowboarder ever to land a backside triple cork 1440, one that has become a trademark move in regular competition for the Regina, Saskatchewan native.