Skiing: Injured NZ freeskier has back surgery

Injured New Zealand free skier Rose Battersby is undergoing surgery on her broken spine after her heavy crash at the Winter X Games in Aspen yesterday.

The 19-year-old from Taupo suffered a lumbar spine fracture in the crash which occurred during the warm-up for the slopestyle.

A family member said Battersby had been in surgery for more than three hours and they had been in contact with her via Facebook since the crash. She is expected to make a full recovery in about six months.

Footage broadcast on ESPN showed Battersby sliding on her back down a slope, her skis tumbling beside her, before crashing through a fence and stopping.

Alex Kerr, of Snow Sports NZ, said Battersby was assessed at Aspen Valley Medical. She was said to be in a stable condition with a lumbar spine fracture and able to move and "feel all extremities". She was also able to speak to rescuers. A second skier called Battersby was also involved in a crash but they are unrelated.

"Rose is being transferred to Denver for further assessment and treatment," Kerr said, adding that specialists would determine the best course of treatment.

On her website, Battersby said she was chasing her dream of becoming the world's best free skier.

She finished ninth in the women's slopestyle competition last year, the same one she was injured in yesterday.


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