A message to the ski racing community

Regarding the death of David Poisson

 

On Monday, Nov. 13, David Poisson, a member of the French national ski team, died in a training accident at Nakiska, Canada. According to public statements by Nakiska representatives and the French Ski Federation, he caught an edge, hit the safety netting, then hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Our hearts break for his family, friends, and teammates.

 

The Kelly Brush Foundation exists to work with the ski racing community to improve and advocate for ski racing safety. It is our position that no ski racer should be seriously injured or die due to a collision with any stationary object such as a tree, lift tower, snowmaking equipment, or other known obstacle. The safety equipment and expertise exist to prevent this cause of serious injury.

 

His death and some of the reactions from the ski community (see here) make it clear we have a lot of work to do. While injury in this sport will always be a reality, serious injury caused by a collision with an obstacle is preventable.

 

The Kelly Brush Foundation was founded because Kelly caught an edge in a FIS sanctioned Giant Slalom in 2006 and hit a lift tower that was not protected by safety netting, sustaining a spinal cord injury. Since then, and out of a deep love for the sport, we have worked to change the culture of safety in ski racing. We promote proper safety net installation, help smaller programs purchase netting, and advance a culture of safety.

 

This is a moment for the entire ski racing community to reflect on safety and for every person and organization to ask what they can do to have a positive impact. That includes sanctioning bodies, national teams, program administrators, officials, coaches, parents and volunteers. And it includes the Kelly Brush Foundation. We will continue to work with everyone to advocate for and improve safety.

 

We have seen huge progress in the past 12 years since Kelly’s injury, but Poisson’s death has revealed that much still needs to be done.

 

Join us in this conversation.