I heard about the accident. At the 1998 Olympics, Herman Meir took a spectacular fall I beleive during the men's downhill competition. I think the safty netting saved him from any really serious injury, so much so, that he came back to win,again if memeory serves me, two or three more medals in other alpine events.
Herman Meir may not have been moving at 80 mph.Silvano or any skier moving at that rate of speed and taking a fall is probably going to sustain an injury/s especially hitting anything, including safty netting, if significant decelleration has not occured.
So it is sad,but he could have been killed. Don't give up hope yet, they are making tremendous advances in spinal injury treatments. He can still ski as a handicapped skier, so the future is not entirely bleak, but not pleasant either. You hate to see things like this happen, but the need for speed has in it, certain risks of injury.