Brazilian freestyle skier Lais Souza suffered a serious accident Wednesday during a training session in the United States and will be unable to participate in the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the Brazilian Olympic Committee said.
Souza was unable to move her arms or legs after the accident in Utah and required emergency surgery, although the committee said her medical team was hopeful the paralysis is not permanent.
After the accident, the 25-year-old was rushed to the intensive-care unit of the University of Utah hospital with life-threatening injuries and underwent a five-hour operation to realign her spine.
Souza, who competed for Brazil as a gymnast in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, did not automatically qualify for the women's aerial event in Sochi but was still expected to receive a berth.
A record 12 athletes, including six women, will represent Brazil at the Winter Olympics. EFE