Hans Grugger announces retirement
Austrian downhill/super G specialist Hans Grugger has called a halt to his bid to return to racing after a 2011 crash at Kitzbuehel that left him in an Intensive Care Unit for a month after emergency surgery, an induced coma and extensive injuries.
Grugger won four World Cup races including downhills at Bormio and Chamonix and super G's at Val Gardena and Kvitfjell. He had spent 13 seasons with the Austrian ski federation.
“My right foot has not gotten better, or changed in the past few months,” Grugger said on his website. “The opportunity for improvement exists, but the time is not predictable, so I have taken ths step.”
He said it was not a painful decision adding he was thankful he is doing well and is able to free ski. His first victory at Bormio was memorable, he said, but the most memorable runs he ever made were “my first time skiing after my crash. While not sporting, certainly from an emotional point of view.”
Grugger crashed over the Mausefalle at Kitzbuehel Jan. 20, 2011 sustaining severe head injury and bleeding between the brain and skull. He had a torn neck artery, two cervical fractures, rib fractures and a pulmonary contusion. It was 11 days before he could breathe independently. He left the ICU unit Feb. 18 and a month later was allowed to return home.
“Our team loses a great athlete,” said head men's coach Mathias Berthold, “and a very great man who was not only a public popular figure but also within the team.