Putin visits Russian skier after broken back surgery

Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:43pm EST
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By Ossian Shine and Alexei Anishchuk

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian Olympic skicross racer Maria Komissarova underwent six-and-a-half hours of spinal surgery on Saturday after breaking her back in a Sochi 2014 training crash.

The 23-year-old had a metal implant inserted and surgeons said they would not know how successful the operation had been for three or four days.

Her condition was serious but she was in a stable condition, the Russia Freestyle Skiing Federation said, adding that she was likely to be taken to a Moscow hospital or go abroad for treatment when it was possible to move her.

Her mother, Maria, was due to arrive in Sochi on Sunday.

President Vladimir Putin visited Komissarova on Saturday evening to wish her a rapid recovery and doctors briefed him on the surgery, the federation said.

Komissarova told Putin her father was extremely worried, so the president called him to offer his assurances that the doctors were doing their best to help her make a full recovery, it added.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with the athlete and the family".

Komissarova suffered the injury during training at the PSX Olympic skicross venue at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. She was taken to Krasnaya Polyana Hospital Number 8, which was specially built for the Olympics, where doctors decided to operate.   Continued...

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) visits Russian Olympic skicross racer Maria Komissarova at a hospital in Sochi, February 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin