Sky Brown, an 11-year-old skateboarder hoping to represent Britain in next summer’s Olympics, reportedly suffered skull fractures and a broken left wrist and hand after flying off a ramp during a training session in California last week.
“This was my worst fall,” Sky said in a video posted to Youtube on Monday, speaking from a hospital bed with a black eye and cast wrapped around her left arm. “I wanted everyone to know it’s OK. Don’t worry. I’m OK.”
The accident occurred last Thursday, her father, Stewart, told the BBC. A partial clip of the accident, which was included in the same Youtube video, showed Brown losing control of her board at the top of a half-pipe and flying into the air between two ramps.
Her father said she “landed head-first off a ramp on her hand” and was air-lifted by helicopter to a hospital where she was unresponsive on arrival.
“Sky had the gnarliest fall she’s ever had and is lucky to be alive,” he said, adding: “When she first came to hospital, everyone was fearful for her life.”
Sky said she doesn’t normally like to post videos of her accidents but wanted her fans to know, “It’s OK to fall sometimes.”
“I’m just going to get back up and push even harder,” she added. “I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. But I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’re just going to do it with love and happiness.”
A native of Miyazaki, Japan, who decided to represent her father’s home country in competition, Sky spends portions of the year training and competing in California and around the U.S. Before the Tokyo Games were postponed a year, she had a chance at equaling the record as the youngest athlete to compete in a Summer Olympics.
Still, if she qualifies for the Games in 2021, which will be the first to include skateboarding, she would become the youngest ever Olympian to represent Britain.
“[She could] really inspire future generations from the U.K. as well as across the world,” British skateboarding team manager, Darren Pearcy, said last year.
Stewart Brown said he expects Sky to have a “speedy recovery” and that “the whole medical team is shocked to see her positivity.”
In the description of the Youtube video, Sky wrote, “My helmet and arm saved my life. This will not stop me. I am going for gold in Tokyo 2021.”
Skateboarding at the Tokyo Games will include 80 total skaters, including 20 women for the “park” category in which Sky specializes. No more than three skaters from any country can participate in the same discipline, however, and Sky is ranked sixth among British skateboarders in the World Skateboarding Rankings.
The qualification period has been extended through June 29, 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Skate, the sport’s international governing body, announced last week.