Mark McMorris says he’s “really happy to be alive and to be healing” a few months after suffering serious injuries in a backcountry snowboard accident.
McMorris, a 2014 Olympic slopestyle bronze medallist and multiple X Games title winner, suffered a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung in the off-trail crash near Whistler, B.C., in late March.
A few days after the crash he posted the following photo on Instagram showing himself in a hospital bed:
Canada Snowboard said in a news release Wednesday that the 23-year-old from Regina is working with Burnaby, B.C.-based injury rehabilitation specialist Damien Moroney, who helped McMorris recover from a broken rib suffered 11 days before the 2014 Sochi Olympics and a broken left femur in February 2016.
“I’m super-committed to the process with Damien, his team and Canada Snowboard. I’m looking forward to getting back on snow,” McMorris said in the release. “That’s my focus right now.”
Despite his injuries, McMorris was provisionally named to the Canadian team for the 2018 Winter Olympics just a few days after the crash. He’ll compete in South Korea if he’s healthy and able to meet an easily attainable minimum-performance requirement in a sanctioned event next season.
“Mark has amazing mental and physical resiliency,” Moroney said in the release. “I am continually impressed with his commitment, focus, attitude and capacity in the gym at this stage of his recovery. He is fully engaged in the process of developing all the key pillars that underpin athlete performance in preparation for the demands of competitive snowboarding.”
McMorris enjoyed a strong 2016-17 season that saw him win a pair of crystal globes as the World Cup season champion in both big air and overall freestyle snowboarding. He also won gold in slopestyle on the Dew Tour and at the Burton U.S. Open, and claimed three X Games medals.
McMorris, should he recover in time, and fellow Canadian Max Parrot are considered strong medal contenders for 2018, especially with the big air event now included on the Olympic program alongside slopestyle.
In big air, snowboarders launch themselves off massive jumps in order to complete their tricks, while slopestyle involves competitors going down a course that includes a number of obstacles.