Young luge athlete hurt in track crash at Whistler Sliding Centre

WHISTLER, B.C. – A young athlete is recovering from a concussion in a Vancouver hospital after an accident at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

The girl, a member of the B.C. Luge Association, was taking part in a regular training session, centre spokeswoman Patricia Leslie said Thursday.

Leslie said that as a novice athlete under the age of 13, the girl was only practising on the lowest four corners of the track, about 120 kilometres north of Vancouver.

Lugers lie on their back on an open sled and slide, feet first, down the track.

Leslie said the girl lost control Wednesday night on corner 14 of the 16-corner track and suffered a concussion.

“They were not at high speeds,” she said. “We don’t know the cause of the accident at this point.”

“These kids are learning to luge so it’s much like riding a bike or learning to ski.”

Leslie said the young athlete remained responsive while being prepared for the air ambulance flight to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

She is now listed in stable condition, and the sliding centre and luge association will do full review of the incident, Leslie said.

It occurred on the same track where 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died just hours before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics, prompting criticism that the course was too fast.

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