Sarah Burke's heart stopped beating immediately after she crashed while training last week, and ski patrollers had to resuscitate her in the halfpipe before she could be evacuated to hospital, University Hospital officials said Monday.
Besides cardiac arrest, Burke suffered severe head trauma, and remains sedated in critical condition, with a breathing tube in her throat almost a week after the accident.
Burke's family cancelled a scheduled news conference on Monday morning, citing the need for further tests before speaking publicly for the first time about the medical condition of the 29-year-old freestyle star.
Even Burke's agent, Nicole Wool, who travelled to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles for the event, only learned of the family's decision on Monday morning.
"I'm sure they have other things they're concerned with more," Wool said. "Please understand this is difficult for us on a professional and personal level."
Further tests will be conducted this morning and in coming days, said a statement given to reporters at the Clinical Neurosciences Center at the University of Utah.
Neither the family nor the hospital will provide further updates on Burke’s condition “until further notice,” the statement said.
Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield; her surgeon and attending physician; and a neurointensivist were scheduled to speak.
Tables and microphones had already been arranged at the site when Chris Nelson, assistant vice president for public affairs for University of Utah Health Sciences, learned of the cancellation.
Burke's family initially made the decision on Friday to provide an update, but after the weekend, the family and doctors felt uncomfortable speaking about her condition until further tests could be done, Nelson said.
The day after her crash, Burke underwent brain surgery to repair a torn artery that caused bleeding in her brain. She remains in the University Hospital's neuro critical care unit.
“The family wants to express their deep appreciation for the overwhelming support Sarah has received from all over the world,” the statement added. "They ask that everyone continue to keep Sarah and Rory in their prayers."
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