Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Lais Souza, Brazilian Olympic Freestyle Skier, Treated at South Florida Hospital

Doctors of Lais Souza gave an update on her condition on Friday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, which specializes in spinal injuries.

Friday, Feb 7, 2014  |  Updated 5:24 PM EDT
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Doctors of Lais Souza will give an update on her condition on Friday.

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A Brazilian Olympic freestyle skier who was paralyzed while training in Utah is now being treated at a Florida hospital.

Doctors of Lais Souza gave an update on her condition on Friday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, which specializes in spinal injuries.

"She's fighting for her life," said Team Brazil Doctor Antonio Marttos.

The 25-year-old ex-Olympic gymnast injured her spine while preparing to compete as a skier at the Sochi Winter Games. Souza was at the University of Utah hospital since hitting a tree while skiing recreationally on Jan. 27. The accident left her unable to breathe on her own or move her legs and arms.

"She had a severe fractured spine," said Dr. Barth Green, a neurosurgeon at Jackson.

Souza has been at Jackson for three days and has finally been able to breathe mostly on her own.

"She's very strong," Marttos said. "As an athlete, she knows that she has steps. She's used to having challenges."

Green said that patients who come in without any movement or sensation below their injury level have a 10 percent chance of walking again, but in her case, he's optimistic.

"I think she will end up walking, that's my prediction," Green said.

The doctor also thinks her positive attitutde and energetic spirit will be key to her recovery.

"She's cheering up her nurses and doctors instead of the opposite and she exceeds what the norm is," he said. "She's show us the same stuff in rehab, I'm sure."

Souza participated in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics as a gymnast before switching to freestyle skiing.

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