SALZBURG, Austria (AP) — Austrian ski jumper Thomas Morgenstern is recovering well from skull and lung injuries and could still compete at next month’s Sochi Olympics.
Doctors at the Salzburg emergency hospital where Morgenstern is being treated said Monday they have given the athlete “the definite all-clear.”
“His recovery process has been very satisfying so far,” head of clinic Josef Obrist said. “The bleeding and the contusion have completely diminished. There was a risk of brain swelling but that hasn’t occurred.”
The 27-year-old Morgenstern, a three-time Olympic champion, crashed Friday while training for a World Cup event in Tauplitz on one of the five largest ski flying hills in the world. He lost balance in the air and landed on his back and head. He briefly lost consciousness but was responsive again shortly afterward.
Morgenstern will use the next two weeks for further recovery and might still be ready in time for the Olympics.
“Thomas will need at least 14 days for regeneration and rehabilition,” team doctor Jurgen Barthofer said. “In that period he definitely won’t jump. After that, we’ll have to see what’s possible.”
Morgenstern posted a message on his Facebook page Monday but didn’t mention his thoughts on a comeback or the Olympics.
“I’m so grateful for my recovery,” Morgenstern wrote. “And I’m speechless about the many good wishes here. I try to read as many as possible of them, what gives me strength. Thank you so much to my family, the medical team and to everybody, who stands by my side!”
Austria ski jump head coach Alexander Pointner said he was going to leave a spot for Morgenstern in his Olympic team “open for as long as possible.”
“I hope the chance will be there. I’ll leave the door open for him,” said Pointner, who has to name his team on Jan. 27. “Thomas deserves that 100 percent. It’s important for his further recovery now that he doesn’t have to worry about the Olympics.”
The individual competition on the normal hill in Sochi is scheduled for Feb. 8, with the large hill on Feb. 15 and the team event on Feb. 17. Morgenstern won Olympic gold in the individual competition and the team event in 2006, and again in the team event four years later.
Doctors said Morgenstern has a memory gap and can’t remember his crash but he had already watched TV footage of the incident.
“That’s part of the process, he shouldn’t just push away what has happened,” Pointner said. “I am very glad he has got the medical all-clear. That’s very important, also for the team.”
Friday’s crash was the second for Morgenstern in the Olympic season. He landed badly into the snow following a jump at the World Cup event in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany, on Dec. 15.
That crash came one day after Morgenstern had won his first World Cup event in almost two years. He suffered several bruises, face cuts and a broken finger from that mishap, but recovered quickly and finished runner-up to Austrian teammate Thomas Diethart in the Four Hills Tour last week.
Morgenstern, who has won 23 individual World Cup events and took the overall title in 2008 and 2011, won the prestigious Four Hills title three years ago.