Airbag not the reason for serious Mayer injuries


An investigation into Matthias Mayer's season-ending downhill crash this month concluded the Olympic champion's injuries were not more serious because he was wearing a safety airbag.

Mayer was ruled out for the rest of the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup campaign as a result of his accident in Val Gardena.

The 25-year-old was initially expected to be out for four weeks with a fractured thoracic vertebra he suffered when he lost control over a jump and landed heavily on his back, but it was then revealed he needed surgery to bolt together the fifth to eighth vertebras

Analysis of the incident by medical staff declared that the airbag manufactured by Dainese did not result in Mayer's injuries being worsened because he was using the device, which will still be used in downhill events..

Doctor Michael Gabi, who operated on Mayer, explained the airbag had "most probably prevented the athlete to report further thoracic injuries."

A statement from Dainese which was posted on the FIS website said: "Experts firmly state that Mayer's injuries are the outcome of the several forces' combination [compression, rotation and bending], taking into consideration that the fall took place at extremely high speed. The back protector were fully intact."

The statement continued: "Dainese presented the data collected during the fall, pointing out that the collision with the ground took place at a speed of 109 km/h , generating accelerations up to 13G and consequent multiple hard impacts on the slope."

Gunther Hujara, the FIS technical expert who fassisted the athlete after the crash, stated: "A very serious investigation of the crash of Matthias Mayer was undertaken by the Austrian Ski Association and Dainese with the University of Innsbruck.

"The Medical Expertise and the Biomechanical Expertise have also shown that the D-air Ski (airbag) worked properly and that no parts of the D-air Ski, specifically the back protector, could cause those injuries."