Jess Blewitt has shared that she suffered a broken femur and clavicle as well as fractures to a rib, her right wrist and her L1 and L3 vertebrae during her Snowshoe finals crash.
Blewitt qualified ninth for the second women's race in West Virginia and was set to take the hotseat in her race run but crashed on the triple in the bottom woods. The crash resulted in a long course hold as Jess was evacuated from the track and taken to the hospital. After a week of radio silence, she has posted on social media over the weekend to give an update on her injuries. Unfortunately, it sounds like she's going to be sidelined for a while but it seems she's motivated to come back strong as soon as possible.
|Unfortunately I hit the ground pretty hard during a nasty crash in my final race run at Snowshoe. Wasn’t how I wanted to end my season... I sustained a broken femur and clavicle which both required surgery as well as fractures to 1 rib my right wrist and L1 and L3 which are all stable. It’s going to be a long process but I’ll be back stronger than ever! A huge thank you to Steve Spencer for all your support and help being here with me in the hospital and everyone else who either helped or sent me kind messages. Hopefully will be home to New Zealand soon for a full recovery with Remarkable Physios—Jess Blewitt|
We're sending healing vibes to Jess and hope to see her back on the bike and ripping soon.
Plot twist, we all know a Kiwi lad that broke his back, had to learn to walk again and is racing world cups again.
A few years ago, a company out of Canada was one of a few North American companies that provide coverage for race competitors. It's expensive. But it should be in every international race teams budget if you're going to send riders abroad.
No racers have ever made it known what coverage they have. I'd love to accumulate the data and put it into an article though.
Australia and England have reciprocal universal health arrangements with New Zealand. Australia has the same with those countries and a few more that have universal health care (such as Italy, Finland, Norway Slovenia - known in the USA as 'Commies'). None of those are the USA, whose medical bills are incredibly high (it was one of the reasons myself, and others I know who had the choice, chose not to live there any more).
Experienced travellers don't go to the USA without mega health insurance. If I recall correctly we were not allowed visas (visiting PhD and partner) until we could prove we had insurance. To compete in the USA you need a visa for athletes which I'm sure also requires health insurance.
It was quite the massive article with loads of debate about universal healthcare. I'd almost rather find that article and link it than see people go down this rabbit hole again.
Also, there is the option of just never coming back to the USA and telling the providers with the giant bills to pound sand, although that is not a real solution.
Enter sports federations: when you are registered and pay the yearly fee with your regional federation for any sport (mtb, climbing, ski, etc) you can enter sanctioned competitions and you have an insurance that covers both national territory and foreign countries (coverage has levels and limits too, $). Note they cover only said activities, not common illness or accident.
A regular tourist may or may not have a private travel insurance, but if willing to do something risky, you better have one (though travel insurances often explicitly leave out stuff like mtb) or the federative license of the sport you're gonna do.
For example, the priciest mountaineering and climbing license to get you covered worldwide in activities done up to 7k meters is around € 200/ year.
I assume everyone racing overseas has his national license regiatration and subsequent insurance
No insurance = no licence.
No licence = no racing.
So, in theory, everyone should be adequately covered.
Also, the cheapest solution for the insurance company is to ship them home (at least outside of a pandemic); bandage them up and ship them back to Australia and then the local health system can care for them (and the insurance doesn't have to pay much more than the flight). While that didn't always seem like the best solution for the injured cyclist, you can understand why the insurer wants to do that.
That's probably one more issue for the Canadian at Rampage. Obviously the Canadian Cycling federation's race coverage & licensing wouldn't be required for a freeride comp.
Last, flying an injured rider back to avoid mounting out of country medical charges isn't plausible due to the potential complications from major internal injuries
Hopefully Jess and/or her sponsor(s) had good insurance. If not, the bill could be extraordinary. In the absence of negotiated rates, the surgeries she mentioned could easily exceed $100k in the U.S.
As an American, I broke a femur in Canada, spent two days in the hospital, and that alone was CA$40k. Can only imagine how much higher that would be in the U.S. for an uninsured foreigner.
That was my favorite section because of the sheer speed coming into it! Had to be over 40mph.
I can’t believe she’s still alive. She effectively did a head plant into the uphill face of the next whoop…
There was a guy lower down the order that crashed on the next whoop down in the final. Don’t know why that was missed. That dude rag dolled for about 40 feet. He got up, but there are varying definitions of “okay”.
I do not necessarily sense that is occurring in elite MTB racing, and I also think we are very far along the diminishing returns curve of technological improvement, so I don't sense equipment gains are driving up risk for athletes at this point (the tree will always be an immovable object). Food for thought.
The bikes were a lot less capable too, of course.
That said, I get that people like to see speed and airtime. Hell, I like to see that stuff. I'm always impressed that nobody has died (to my knowledge) hitting a tree at 30+ mph/still in the air so maybe I'm just an old sissy hypocrite.
Jokes aside, it was a horrible crash. I was thinking, as she was coming to that lower jump section, she will nail it, she is so good at jumps. Just show how much on the limit these guys are. Amazing athletes.
All the best with the recovery, looking forward to seeing her send some huuuge jumps in the future!
If I wreck and get back on the bike and get to the finish line? Put a mic in my face and ask me.
If I wreck and am Immobilized and there’s no easy track side diagnosis?
Leave me with my dignity and don’t speculate about my wellbeing. I’ll clue you in when I’m good and ready.
So cell towers are a no go. Unless you're in the village on wifi using cellular wifi, cell service is 1% possible. Assuming she's in the Elkins Trauma unit, she and her team/family aren't grabbing the hall phone to call anyone up the mountain. Definitely not calling or texting anyone on Western Territory.
It simply is impossible to do so. And as Bass points out, it's private. She or the team could have let the world know 2 weeks ago, but they chose NOT to until now.
oof! heavy one.