Burke in critical condition after fall

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Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke is in critical condition Wednesday after crashing during a training run on the superpipe in Park City, Utah, on Tuesday.

According to an email sent Wednesday morning from Burke's publicist, "Sarah is currently sedated and being monitored from yesterday's crash in Park City. At this time, her family is asking that everyone respect their wishes of making Sarah's health and recovery a priority at this time. The family will send an update once they have all the information. Sarah's husband, Rory, and her family are with Sarah."

She is currently in the University of Utah Health Care's Neuro Critical Care Unit. According to Safdar Ansari, M.D., a neurointensivist with University of Utah Health Care, "Sarah sustained serious injuries and remains intubated and sedated in critical condition."

Chris Nelson, assistant vice president for public affairs at the hospital, told the Associated Press that Burke was having surgery Wednesday afternoon.

Andy Miller, communications manager at Park City Mountain Resort, confirmed with ESPN that the Canadian freestyle skier was training in the Eagle Superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort. After a crash, she was treated by ski patrol, transported to base patrol and then airlifted.

Miller said the halfpipe was the same one where snowboarder Kevin Pearce was critically injured during training on Dec. 31, 2009. Pearce suffered traumatic brain injuries but has since recovered and returned to riding on snow last month.

"Sarah is a very strong young woman and she will most certainly fight to recover," Burke's husband, pro skier Rory Bushfield said in a release.

Burke, a pioneer in women's freeskiing since 2000, has won an ESPY award for best female action sports athlete and she was the first female skier to land a 1080 in competition.

With the help of her lobbying, halfpipe skiing will make its debut at the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. "Making it to the Olympics. That's the big goal for now," Burke told ESPN in a recent interview.

Burke missed significant time in 2009 when she landed awkwardly and broke a vertebra in her lower back. Since healing, she has returned to the top of her game and was scheduled to defend her title at the Winter X Games later this month in Aspen.

"The ski community is very close," said Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, in a press conference, "and obviously all of the other athletes' thoughts and prayers are certainly with Sarah and with her family right now."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.