The young athlete completed several complicated jumps and flips on the heavy vehicle before the skis got stuck in the snow during a backflip landing. Moore was thrown off head-first and the snowmobile rolled over him, and though it took him a while to get up, he eventually walked off the course. He was taken to the hospital and treated for a concussion, but the injury also caused more significant damage to his brain and bleeding around his heart. Sadly, he did not survive the surgery he underwent to repair it.
The X-Games have subsequently come under fire for pushing athletes to do dangerous stunts on heavy machinery, although this is the first fatal injury to occur at the winter games. But some say that the competitors know the risks they take on when signing up for the games, just like any athlete in any other sport.
“In many respects, sport’s essence is about a competitive challenge. Athletes are bigger, faster, stronger, and performance is more spectacular. Part and parcel with that is the Pandora’s box of risk attached to these events. It’s called the extreme games, after all,” said Dan Lebowitz of Northeastern University’s Center for Study of Sport.
ESPN, which runs the games, released a statement about Moore’s death, saying, “We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore’s passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Wade and Michelle, his brother, Colten, and the entire Moore family. He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends, and he will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action sports community. As a result of this accident we will conduct a thorough review of this discipline and adopt any appropriate changes to future X Games.”