Three-time Olympic ski jump champion Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was hospitalized with skull injuries and a bruised lung on Friday after crashing during training for this weekend’s ski flying World Cup.
“Thomas Morgenstern is conscious and well responsive,” the Austrian ski federation said in statement hours after the incident, adding the athlete’s condition would be monitored in the intensive care unit of a Salzburg hospital for the next 72 hours, reported Yahoo!Sports.
Morgenstern’s injuries were not life-threatening, head of clinic Josef Obrist told the Austria Press Agency.
“He has a serious injury and he has to be monitored fulltime,” said Obrist, adding that Morgenstern was responsive and gave clear answers.
During his second training jump of the day, the 27-year-old Morgenstern lost his balance in the air, turned over to the left and landed on his back and head. He briefly lost consciousness but was able to speak shortly afterward.
“Fortunately he was responsive, Thomas can move arms and legs. That’s very important,” team physician Herbert Leitner said. “He asked me what happened.”
Morgenstern received first aid on the hill and was flown by helicopter to the hospital, head coach Alexander Pointner said.
“We can only hope for the best,” Pointner said. “This really hurts because we are all very close. Thomas is the heart of this team.”
It’s the second big crash for Morgenstern in the Olympic season.
He crashed into the snow following a jump at the World Cup in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany, on Dec. 15. That crash came one day after Morgenstern had won his first World Cup event in almost two years. He suffered several bruises, face cuts and a broken finger from that mishap, but recovered quickly and finished runner-up to Austrian teammate Thomas Diethart in the Four Hills Tour last week.