Birkenfeld Improving, But Still in Intensive Care

American windsurfer was injured in a collision on Aug. 8 while preparing for Olympic test event.

The following is an update from Fred Hagedorn, the Olympic Sailing Committee chairman, on the condition of Kimberly Birkenfeld, the top-ranked sailor in the woman’s Mistral class on the U.S. Sailing Team. Birkenfeld, 37, was injured by a motorboat while practicing in the waters off of Glyfada, Greece, on Aug. 8. She was preparing for the 2002 Athens Regatta, a pre-Olympic test event.

"The doctors are pleased with some of the signs they saw over the weekend, but the next few days continue to be important to her recovery. In the meantime Kimberly will remain in the intensive care unit of the hospital. She is beginning to be able to respond to external stimuli, including the voices of her doctors and family.

"I know that all the positive thoughts of Kim’s friends and relatives have been a great source of help to Kim and her family. Kimberly’s family and all of us in the sailing community who know her are very appreciative.

"There are two major injuries. One was to the base of her skull, where two bones were pushed in toward her brain by the motorboat. Fortunately neither invaded the brain and apparently she has sustained no permanent injury. The second injury is a severe laceration on her leg, which has been treated.

"The doctors remain optimistic, but cautious, and will continue to monitor Kim’s condition over the next few days."