PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer is to return home for medical treatment after breaking a bone in his neck during a fall in the men's snowboard cross event at the Winter Olympics.
The 30-year-old Schairer fell heavily on his back in Thursday's quarter-finals, with his head snapping back and striking the snow. He remained on the ground for a few moments before getting to his feet and finishing his ride down the hill.
France's Pierre Vaultier, who was in Schairer's quarter-final, went on to win the gold ahead of Australia's Jarryd Hughes and Spain's Regino Hernandez.
The Austrian Olympic Committee (AOC) said in a statement that Schairer had been taken to hospital where tests showed he had fractured the fifth cervical vertebrae in his neck.
The AOC added that there was no "neurological impairment and consequential damage can be ruled out".
Schairer will return to Austria with medical assistance. (Writing by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ken Ferris)