On Jan. 31 the X Games community lost snowmobiler Caleb Moore from bleeding internally and brain complications — a result of a crash a week earlier, where his snowmobile fell on top of him after a failed backflip.
Moore was just 25 years old, and although it’s a tragedy every time someone dies, this death was more haunting than usual because we all saw it live in the winter X Games.
Moore might have walked away from the horrific crash, but it’s still eerie to know that I was watching the very moment that marked the beginning of the end.
Even scarier? There were dozens of accidents, especially in the big air events, that looked far worse. Quite frankly, it’s easy to see how an extreme sports athlete could die trying to pull off one of these tricks that attempt to defy physics.
The incident comes at perhaps the worst time possible for the X Games, which is in the beginning of a year where it is expanding its brand to having six events, spanning five countries.
Now, the higher-ups of the X Games must figure out how to make sports that inherently dangerous safer without taking away from its “extreme” nature.
When you think about it, the state of extreme sports is in the same perilous situation as the NFL.
It seems like every Sunday, I watch a hit in football where my first reaction is to scream out, “I think he might actually be dead.” Sometimes the hit is legal, sometimes it isn’t; whether it’s followed by a little yellow flag is irrelevant.
Each time, the player has gotten up, or has waved to the crowd as he was carted off to let the fans know he was fine, but I can’t help but feel like I will eventually be right and a player will die on the field.
If the X Games can learn one thing from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, though, it’s that changing the rules isn’t how to go about fixing things.
By trying to alter the rules, Goodell has botched the NFL’s situation worse than Richard Nixon handled Watergate.