Winter Park, CO, Nov. 29 (AP)--An accomplished 31-year-old disabled skier died a day after suffering critical head injuries when he hit a tree at the Winter Park Resort.
Steven Ricci, a member of the Winter Park Disabled Ski Team, died Sunday at St. Anthony Central Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Beverly Johnson.
Ricci was in his second year on the Development Team with the National Sports Center for the Disabled Competition Program, the elite program at Winter Park. Most skiers on the team aspire to win spots on the U.S Disabled Ski Team.
``We feel like he had overcome great odds to get there, and this represented just an overwhelming odd that he couldn't overcome,'' Dr. John Nichols, a surgeon who treated Ricci, said of the injury.
Ricci was warming up on a mono-ski on the Lower Hughes run Saturday when the accident occurred, resort spokeswoman Joan Christensen said. Mono-skis are skis equipped with a seat on a suspension system for better maneuverability for people with lower-body disabilities.
Nichols said his injuries probably would have been less severe if he had been wearing a helmet. ``With this type of severe injury, the outcome (often) is not good,'' he said Saturday.
``Everyone was pretty shaken up by this,'' Ms. Christensen said after the critical injury. ``It cut a pretty deep swath in everyone's hearts.''
Ricci was the second person to die after a ski accident at a Colorado ski resort this season. Joshua Colglazier, 27, of Westminster, died Nov. 7 at Keystone Resort after he hit a boulder. He was not wearing a helmet either.
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