Lais Souza was, at one time, a competitive gymnast for Brazil and an Olympic-level freestyle skier. After a training accident and a brutal recovery, Souza is now an uninsured quadriplegic who needs financial help. "The Olympic Committee is transferring the responsibility for us. Brazil invests billions in Cup stadiums , and billions more for the Olympics in Rio in 2016 , and leaves a young quadriplegic depending on [others] on the internet," Andre Forastieri writes in an op-ed for Brazil's R7 news agency.
Souza, a two-time Olympic gymnast, was injured on January 27 while training in Utah for the Sochi Olympics. The freestyle skier hit a tree and suffered a severe spinal fracture that left her fighting for her life and ultimately unable to move her arms and legs. Since then she's been transferred to a Miami hospital where she's learning English. And that's where the help from the Brazilian Olympic Committee stops. "The insurance paid for the operation and treatment. But it will not pay anything more. Life insurance or disability is contracted by the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Sports Confederation covers only accidents that happen during the competition and not during training," Forastieri explains.