A week after a devastating start to the X Games Aspen, champion snowmobiler Caleb Moore has died. Moore, a four-time Winter X Games medalist died Thursday morning from injuries suffered in a horrific crash during the snowmobile freestyle competition finals, which took place Thursday, January 24.
Near the end of Moore’s first run, he failed to fly far enough on a backflip. The front sleds of his snowmobile dug into the landing ramp, catapulting him over the handlebars and into a face-first landing before the snowmobile landed on him. After regaining consciousness, Moore was taken to a local hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a concussion and discovered internal bleeding around his heart. He then was airlifted to Grand Junction, Colorado where he underwent emergency surgery Friday morning. Moore’s heart contusion led to a secondary complication involving his brain. Moore’s grandfather Charles Moore told reporters on Monday morning that the 25-year-old athlete almost certainly would not survive.
Family, fans and fellow athletes’ worst fears were realized yesterday morning when Moore passed away. Details on the official cause of death have not been released.
“He will be truly missed and never forgotten,” Moore’s family said in a statement released after his death. “The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for all the prayers and support they have received from all the fans, friends and family around the world that Caleb has inspired.”
Fellow snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee recently described Moore as a “fierce competitor.”
“A very creative mind,” LaVallee said. “I’ve watched him try some crazy, crazy tricks and some of them were successful, some of them not so much. But he was first guy to get back on a sled and go try it again. It shows a lot of heart.”
Moore is the first fatality in the 18-year history of the X Games. Host ESPN has committed to reviewing safety issues related to the sport.
“As a result of this accident we will conduct a thorough review of this discipline and adopt any appropriate changes to future X Games,” ESPN said in a statement released Thursday. “For 18 years we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain. Caleb was a four-time X Games medalist attempting a move he has landed several times previously.”
Eerily, about 30 minutes after Moore’s crash, his brother and fellow competitor Colten Moore also crashed. Colten was at the X Games as the defending champion in this year’s freestyle event. He suffered a separated pelvis, but was released from the hospital by Saturday morning.
E3 Spark Plugs sends our condolences to the Moore family.