There are risks in sports |

There are risks in sports

Greg Tuffelmire

This letter is in regard to the Ford Ranger Freeride Challenge held at Copper Mountain on April 6, during which a fellow competitor and newly acquired friend of mine was injured.

I have heard murmurs within the community expressing ill feelings toward the promoters, sponsors and host of the event. Their disapproval stems from a belief that the competitors were pushed too hard and even forced to continue past a safe and reasonable level. This is absolutely not true.

After the accident, the remaining competitors, including me, made the decision to continue on – nobody made that decision for us. All of the concerned parties double-checked with the athletes to make sure they understood they were in no way obligated to continue on if they did not feel comfortable.

After each jump the option for the athletes to quit was there, and before each ensuing round, the remaining competitors made their own decision to continue. After three additional jumps, the other remaining athlete and I decided we were both too tired and concerned about the changing conditions to continue. It was at that time we chose to stop. Respecting and applauding our decision to stop, the promoters and sponsors of the event surprised us by rewarding each of us for our athletic performances.

The reality is this – people get hurt every day doing what they love not only during professional competitions, but also during everyday life.

I am a professional athlete and I understand and accept the inherent risks involved in competing in the sport we love. I was truly saddened to witness the accident Saturday, but it wasn’t the first time a friend of mine has been injured in competition.

My thanks go out to the event host, sponsors and promoters for allowing the athletes to make the decision. More importantly, my thoughts and prayers go out to Matt Wyffels, his family and his friends.

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