Fifteen months ago, Hans Grugger, a World Cup Alpine Ski Racer from Austria, was airlifted to Innsbruck when he crashed head first into a ski piste (one of those marked runs on the slope). The tragedy culminated in a large and still unresolved debate over safety issues for downhill skiers. Today, however, Grugger came forward to announce his retirement at age 30.
Initially, he attempted a comeback, believing that he could regain control of his right leg, but the chances of doing so in a short time have become harder and harder to measure.
“There is a chance of improvement,” said Grugger, “but you can’t tell how long this is going to take. That’s why I have taken this decision now…I am immensely happy and thankful that I am doing well. That I can’t race in the future is just a relatively minor problem. I can ski for fun and do almost anything I want to do.”
What a novel thought. Grugger may not be able to compete against other professionals anymore, but that doesn’t mean he has to quit enjoying the slopes. On the contrary, he can now go back to skiing the way that most people in the world do it: as an extra-curricular activity.
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