After spending two weeks hospitalized in Greece, US Sailing Team member Kimberly Birkenfeld (Miami, Fla./Myrtle Creek, Ore.), has been transported via air ambulance back to her native Oregon.
Birkenfeld, the number one ranked Women's Windsurfer on the 2002 US Sailing Team, will continue her recovery at the Oregon Health and Science Hospital in Portland.
Birkenfeld was preparing for the Athens 2002 Regatta on August 8 when she sustained two injuries -- to the base of her skull, and a leg laceration -- from a motorboat propeller. The motorboat driver was instrumental in getting Birkenfeld to shore where she was quickly transported to the hospital. The accident remains under investigation by the Greek Coast Guard who will not issue a report until they have been able to obtain a statement from Birkenfeld.
"US Sailing will not comment further on the circumstances of the accident while this investigation remains open," said Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Fred Hagedorn (Chicago, Ill.). "Until she is able to share her impressions of the accident, we hope our position complements the ideals of fair-play that Kimberly, herself, has always exhibited." Hagedorn, acting as a spokesman for Birkenfeld's family, stressed that they have no desire to take any attention away from Kimberly and her recovery.
"Recovery from a serious trauma, such as that which Kimberly has received, is a slow process. Kimberly has continued to improve over the past two weeks and remained stable throughout her transport by Critical Care International. She remains in the ICU and is now undergoing a full evaluation with the medical team at her new hospital."
Further updates on Birkenfeld's condition will be issued as her progress dictates.