Injured snowboarder in hospital
A Sydney medical student is in Dunedin Hospital with serious head injuries after he was airlifted from The Remarkables ski area two weeks ago.
NZ Ski chief executive James Coddington said the man, who is 21, was snowboarding "very fast" at the top of the Shadow Basin when he left a groomed trail and went off piste where he lost control and crashed into a rock.
The man, who was wearing a helmet, caught an edge and was catapulted into the air landing head first on a rock, Mr Coddington said.
"My understanding is the helmet dislodged when he hit the rock."
After the accident there had been several rumours circulating Queenstown that the man had died, but Mr Coddington said that was not the case. The man was initially put into an induced coma in the hospital's intensive care unit.
"The last we heard he was taken out of ICU some time ago."
The man was making "voluntary movements" but would have a long road to recovery, he said.
St John Queenstown team leader Alana Reid said she had received several inquiries about the condition of the man, who was airlifted off the mountain by the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust supported by two of her medical staff.
"It was definitely a serious head injury. It was a traumatic brain injury," she said.
The patient was taken to Lakes District Hospital where he was stabilised before being flown to Dunedin Hospital's intensive care unit.
Ms Reid said getting "time critical" patients off the mountain quickly was vital.
It was better for patients to wait for Dunedin Hospital's intensive care team to arrive in the warmth of the hospital where there was better light and support for responding medical staff.
The incident highlighted the importance of skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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