Cutting to the Chase: Extreme Sports: Risk worth the reward?

By on February 5, 2013
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The X Games, ESPN’s annual action sports event, saw its first fatality in its 18 year history last month when Caleb Moore, a creative freestyle snowmobile rider, died from injuries sustained at the Winter Games in Aspen. Moore was only 25.

The X games have been the source of many injuries in recent years. Caleb Moore, Jeremy Lusk, and skier Sarah Burke died due to dangers of their sports. spectators are starting to question the safety of the sports. Flickr.com/deezerops

The X games have been the source of many injuries in recent years. Caleb Moore, Jeremy Lusk, and skier Sarah Burke died due to dangers of their sports. spectators are starting to question the safety of the sports. Flickr.com/deezerops

During the Freestyle event, Moore was in the middle of a back flip when the skis on his snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area. Moore was thrown over the front of the snowmobile; his head slamming face first into the compacted snow. The most horrific moment of this accident was when the 450-lb vehicle came down on top of Moore and rolled over him.

Moore laid in the snow for a quite a while, but surprisingly he was able to make it to his feet and was then taken to a hospital for what they thought to be a concussion. As the blood began to envelop in his heart, Moore was flown to Grand Junction, CO for surgery. After eight days of intensive care Moore passed away on February 1.

Moore’s younger brother Colten, who won the Snowmobile Freestyle Gold Medal at the 2012 Winter X Games, was injured in a non-related accident the same night. He attained a separated pelvis.

There’s no doubt the Moore brothers enjoyed their sports, and there are plenty of people out there like them who get an adrenaline rush from extreme sports, gladiator events, and other activities. However, such horrific events such as this one make us ask ourselves if it is really worth the entertainment.

What is it about extreme sports that draw so many young people willing to risk injury?

Is it for the money? Maybe for those at the very top, but advertisers and corporations typically spend their coins where they would see the most return. While the X Games are becoming more popular, they have yet to attract the fan base of traditional sports.

Proponents of the X Games argue they do what they love and that more life changing injuries occur on the football field than in action sports. However, the average football players’ compensation far exceeds that of an X Games athlete, so at least there is some justification for the decision in traditional sports.

My point is that people are blood thirsty and animalistic. We get a kick out of watching a couple of guys wale on each other until one of them passes out in a boxing match or while watching MMA. We enjoy seeing the QB of a rival team getting sacked ten times, the hard foul in basketball, and the fights in hockey. We are learning more and more about not only the short term risk, but the long term affects that these sports have on an athlete’s body and mental health.

In America, we even love to car racing so much that we tune in to replay crashes. In almost every professional sport, athletes risk their lives and limbs in order to provide us with quality entertainment. At the end of the day, the fans are the reason why most athletes say they do what they do, and try to compete at a high level.

There is nothing more satisfying to an athlete than the sound of the crowd as he lays exhausted on the playing field after a victory. For the cheers, screams and glory, athletes will continue to do what they do. It’s all for you. Is it worth it?

Chase Cole
Senior Staff Writer
chasecole@uab.edu

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  • Donny Pope #17

    For most extreme sports athletes it’s all for the athlete. I never expect to make a dollar in motocross. I have spent thousands as a racer. I will not stop even if it’s doctor’s orders.

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