Last month, Patricia Lucero of Albuquerque was skiing at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort when she caught an edge and slammed into a tree, said Johanna Lucero, the girl’s mother. On December 27th, the 12-year-old girl skied into a tree on an intermediate trail known as Legends.  On Wednesday, she was released from an Albuquerque hospital after suffering multiple pelvis and facial fractures.  She has undergone facial surgery but is expected to make a full recovery.

After the collisions, Purgatory ski patrol put her on a sled and took her to the bottom of chairlift 3, also known as Hermosa Park Express, where a medical helicopter was waiting. She was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center before being flown to a Level 1 trauma center in Albuquerque in critical condition.

Patricia, who has been skiing since she was three, was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  Her mother credits the helmet with preventing a brain injury.  This happy ending contrasts sharply with the outcome suffered by Michael Shumacher following his ski accident.  To read a discussion of the benefits and limitations of helmet use, see The Helmet Paradox and Ski Safety.

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