Austrian Snowboarder Markus Schairer Breaks Neck, Still Finishes Race

Schairer took a vicious fall, landing directly on his back and sustained a break to his fifth cervical vertebra.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Feb 15 2018, 9:13pm

Screen capture via NBC

In a scary moment during today's Snowboard Cross event at PyeongChang 2018, Austrian boarder Markus Schairer found himself uncontrollably rotating on his back, a couple dozen feet in the air, only to land straight on his upper back and neck. His neck whipped back and his head hit the ground so violently—sending his goggles flying off his helmet—that he broke his neck.

(You can view the full video here on NBC.)

Schairer remained on the ground for a spell, but eventually the man got up, dusted himself off, and actually finished the race. According to a statement from the Austrian Olympic Committee, it wasn't until after he crossed the line that doctors discovered the extent of the injury, and determined that he broke his fifth cervical vertebra.

Despite this horrific result, Schairer can thank his lucky stars that doctors found no signs of neurological damage and listed him in stable condition. Schairer is set to fly back home to Austria with a medical team for further evaluation and treatment.