These screen grabs depict the horrifying crash Caleb Moore endured Thursday night. Images courtesy ESPN

These screen grabs depict the horrifying crash Caleb Moore endured Thursday night. Images courtesy ESPN

It seems a little outdated now, and something that just “is”, but the ‘X’ in X Games was supposed instill in us that the competitions under the banner name were the “extreme games”. The pageantry of good, honest athletic competition injected with a healthy dose of youth angst. It was a marketing ploy that worked brilliantly.

But recently, the X Games has been unfortunately earning its name.

Many fans of the event saw Caleb Moore’s disastrous crash Thursday night as he and his quarter-ton snowmobile didn’t get enough distance on a jump and the nose of the machine underneath caught the lip of the ramp and somersaulted him over the bars.

Caleb Moore hits the hard-packed snow as his snowmobile bucks recklessly. Photo courtesy Christian Murdock/The Gazette

Caleb Moore hits the hard-packed snow as his snowmobile bucks recklessly. Photo courtesy Christian Murdock/The Gazette

Those watching learned later that night that Moore was knocked unconscious by the wreck. However, today doctors revealed that things are, in fact, much worse. Moore has a heart contusion, a serious injury that results from significant physical trauma to the chest, placing him in the Intensive Care Unit in Grand Junction, CO, where he was medevaced to once bleeding around his heart was discovered.

Aside from causing a heart attack — which, for the record, has NOT happened to Moore — and possibly increasing the risk for heart disease in the future, patients suffering a heart contusion normally make a full recovery.

That news comes with a sigh of relief for, if the worst had happened, it would’ve been the second time in as many years an X Games athlete would have died in relation to the event. Last year, X Games multi-medalist Sarah Burke was killed during a training run shortly before the last Winter X Games after she hit her head and went into cardiac arrest on the ski slope.

And while Caleb Moore’s crash was the most horrific of the night, it was not an isolated incident. Two other snowmobilers, one being Caleb’s brother, Colten, were taken to local Aspen Valley Hospital for injuries they sustained during competition.

All three accidents occurred on the first day of competition at Winter X Games Aspen, a day the year before had been highlighted by a touching tribute to Sarah Burke.

While everyone is expected to bounce back  eventually, it’s a second consecutive year that the Winter X Games were kicked off on a rather somber note with a stark reminder that what these athletes are doing are, in fact, quite extreme.

Human bodies were never meant to have composite materials strapped to their feet in order to send them flying through the air. Sure, we have helmets and pads and modern medicine, but these feel like inferior measures when we see people 30 or 40 feet in the air head for a pile of hard pack snow.

There’s no changing the sport or making it safer. Every rider, skier, and snowmobiler knows what their signing up for. Most, actually, will probably tell you they wouldn’t have it any other way.

But even they can’t deny Winter X has seen more dark days than bright ones as of late.

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NOTE: This story was originally posted on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for X Games updates and other sports shenanigans!