Chris Spring.
Chris Spring.

Sledder slashed in horror accident

SUNSHINE Coast bobsledder Chris Spring is in a German hospital after being cut from his upper leg to his buttocks in a horror crash during a World Cup training run.

The 27-year-old from Caloundra, who competed for Australia in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, applied to become a Canadian citizen before the games ended.

He wanted to try to join the better-resourced Canadian team for the 2014 games.

Spring was piloting the four-man team around the Altenberg circuit in Germany on Thursday when the sled crashed, bouncing off the track and into the roof at 130kmh.

Canada head coach Tom de la Hunty said he had "never seen a sled so destroyed in my 32 years in the sport".

Despite reports suggesting Spring ended up in hospital with a piece of wood embedded in his back, one of his friends said that was not the case.

"The piece of wood split him from behind the knee up to his lower back," the friend, who wanted to be anonymous, said.

"The wood dug into his leg ... he certainly lost a lot of blood."

Ironically, the wood came from a crash barrier designed to prevent out-of-control sleds from lifting out of the sliding track. One of Spring's teammates sustained severe bruising, another suffered leg injuries and the fourth walked away unhurt.

Before the crash, the team had successfully completed three training runs down the track.

Heavy snow fell on the facility on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of some training runs on the circuit.

The accident happened on corner 16, often described as one of the most difficult in the world.

Spring was aware of its dangers, writing in his blog just days before: "Another new track and a tough one at that so I will be switched on for the best part of the week we are here and no doubt stressing out about all the little things us pilots like to worry about."

His friend said the good news was that the injuries were not life threatening.

"It was such a shock to hear what happened," the friend said.

"I'd spoken to him last week and he was so excited about how things were going. It's definitely the worst bobsled accident he has ever had.

"I don't think anyone can tell how long his recovery will take, but knowing Chris, I think this will just push him even more."

Spring is ranked 10th in the World Cup four-man standings.

Speaking to the Daily just two weeks ago, he said his skill level had "gone through the roof".

"Being mentored by Canada's most-decorated bobsled pilot, Olympic gold medallist Pierre Leuders, my driving skill has improved far more that I had ever imagined it would," Spring said.

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