Top snowboarder Danny Davis suffered a fractured spine in an ATV accident near Park City early Sunday morning, and will miss the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Davis was scheduled to have surgery Monday to repair an L3 spinal fracture, his agent said in a post on his Facebook page. The accident occurred two weeks after fellow snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a training crash at Park City Mountain Resort.
A close friend of Pearce, the 21-year-old Davis crashed a four-wheeler into a closed gate on a private driveway at about 3:30 a.m., Detective Ron Bridge of the Summit County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Davis had been visiting a home in the Snyderville Basin area north of Interstate 80, the statement said, celebrating his victory just hours earlier in the men's superpipe competition at the Winter Dew Tour at Snowbasin Ski Resort.
Bridge said Davis was thrown from the four-wheeler and unconscious when he was discovered later by friends, who drove him to Park City Regional Medical Center. Davis was later transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, where a spokesperson said he was being treated in intensive care.
Bridge told The Park Record newspaper that Davis was riding with a friend, who also was injured and taken to the hospital, and that police were not sure who was driving. But that was not mentioned in his statement. Bridge did not say whether alcohol was involved, but police don't expect to file charges.
Davis was scheduled to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix events at Park City Mountain Resort next weekend.
Davis was expected to make the team, especially after defeating defending Olympic gold medalist Shaun White in the most recent Grand Prix event with what many observers called the greatest run in the history of sport. Davis landed three of the daring "double cork" aerial maneuvers during the run, which he dedicated to Pearce -- who suffered his injury in a training crash Dec. 31 in Park City while trying to land a double cork, which is essentially a twisting double-back flip.
Pearce remains in serious condition at University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Both Pearce and Davis are part of the "Frends" snowboarding group, which aspires to promote collegiality in the face of their sport's celebrity, commercialism and competitiveness.