US Olympic Windsurfer, Kim Birkenfeld Injured in Athens
By US Sailing Editors
U.S. Sailing Team member Kimberly Birkenfeld, 37, of Miami, was injured by a motorboat propeller in Athens, Greece. The accident occurred this morning local time as Birkenfeld, a Mistral sailor, was training for the upcoming Athens 2002 Regatta, a pre-Olympic event. The press release continues to states that Birkenfeld was undergoing surgery as of Thursday afternoon (EST) and that US SAILING is in close contact with her family.
Birkenfeld, a later comer to the sport of sailing, has competed in the Mistral class in the past two U.S. Olympic Trials. She finished third in 2000 behind three-time Olympian Lanee Butler and Cara Reid.
Olympic Sailing Committee chairman, Fred Hagedorn, provided the following update,
"The doctors are pleased with some of the signs they saw over the weekend, but the next few days continue to be important to her recovery. In the meantime Kimberly will remain in the intensive care unit of the hospital. She is beginning to be able to respond to external stimuli, including the voices of her doctors and family.
"I know that all the positive thoughts of Kim's friends and relatives have been a great source of help to Kim and her family. Kimberly's family and all of us in the sailing community who know her are very appreciative.
"There are two major injuries. One was to the base of her skull, where two bones were pushed in toward her brain by the motorboat. Fortunately neither invaded the brain and apparently she has sustained no permanent injury. The second injury is a severe laceration on her leg, which has been treated.
"The doctors remain optimistic, but cautious, and will continue to monitor Kim's condition over the next few days."