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My not so EPIC 2012 ski season

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well, let's just say the East didn't have a great year, and neither did I. We had big plans to make it to the mountain every other weekend to participate in a junior race series at

Appalachian Mtn NC. Our first race weekend was filled with excitement, We arrived early Saturday morning and were on the hill at 8:30 for his practice. Skied all day and had a blast .


His first time running the gates Sat. morning




Little brother enjoying his first season. Day 3 and ready to tackle the rest of the hill by days end.




After he mastered Appaltizer we moved onto Strudle. This was his first chair lift experience. He had great control and was so happy to be skiing with big brother. By Sat. afternoon the snow was very soft and made things a lot slower. after lunch he was asking to go to the top and ski Orchard Run, so I took him and the first few times I guided him down between my skies while holding onto him under his arms. Then the big moment, he skied from top to bottom in complete control for the rest of the afternoon. We called it a day around 5:00 and headed to the hotel. Sunday morning we got up and prepared for Hayden's first race of the season. Got to the mountain around 7:30 and registered. made our way to the snow to inspect the course at 8:30.




Over the night we had light showers with temps near freezing. A well groomed hill was awaiting us for another day of fun (so I thought). After inspecting the course we had around 45 min to enjoy the hill before the race started. It is now 9:00 and we are at the top of the hill. My younger son has been waiting for half an hour while his brother inspected the course. Only racers and family members are on the hill. Hayden arrives at the top and we prepare to ski Orchard Run just as we had the day before. I talked to Colsen, the younger of the 2 and explained the the snow is freshly groomed and colder temps overnight meant the snow was hard and fast. "I know daddy, I know" We take off and start skiing.


run diagram.JPG


Starting at the top The blue line went smoothly, started picking up speed and I knew Colsen was going to fast. He could not slow down and at the red curve just above the #6, this is an embankment that separates the terrain park from Orchard run. He skied up it and back down picking up more speed. The wavy green line I thought he had it corrected, but I was wrong. I was only feet behind him and thought of tackling him. Then it happened, the red square by 11. I could see it happen before it happened TREES!

Yep he nailed one dead center, straddled it between his legs. The sound of his head hitting the tree will never leave me. How I got to him and got my skies off I will never know, they were a good 25 feet away when I went to put em back on. Being a former paramedic I was in response mode right away. His face completely swollen only seconds after impact and only a faint moan. The patrol at Appalachian Mtn are TOP NOTCH. they were on scene within 2 min. allowed me to keep cspine and talk to him the whole time. Never once did they ask me if i was trained, or try to push me out the way. A few weeks after the accident I was able to talk to the Patrol first on the scene, and he told me that he could tell by the way I was acting that I had been in some line of first responder work. So they got him down the hill and in the ambulance in no time. The hospital less than 5 mile away, and I meet him in the ER. CT's revealed no damage to the brain at that time. With the trama to the head he is still classified as a level 1 pediatric trama and must be transported to a facility able to better treat him. So from Boone to Charlotte he goes. Levine Children's Hospital downtown Charlotte is where we spend the next 2 weeks and thus puts an end to our season. Thank God he was wearing a helmet. It was estimated impact was around 25mph. The Lord had his hand on Colsen the whole time. It took him 6 days to create this wonderful place, and 7 to heal my baby's superficial injuries.




Day 1 of 3 in ICU. 3 fractures to his pelvis. 6 orbital fractures to the left eye & a CT upon arrival revealed a bruise to the left frontal lobe. Morphine around the clock for 2 days and observation on day 3. Then to a step down unit for 2 days then a regular floor for 1 day. Discharged on day 7 and readmitted to inpatient rehab for what was expected to be 2 weeks.




Day 7.. what a difference. No surgery needed for his pelvis and after 4 visits to plastic surgeon all bones in his left eye are healed, vision is unchanged. Only restriction is no contact sports for 1 year due to  a TBI/concussion. Ended up spending 6 days in rehab to get his strength back to be able to walk. Limped around for about 6 weeks, and now you would never know it happened.He does have a nice scar under his eyebrow, but it adds character to his personality.





Big brother witnessed the accident and it took him over a week to bring himself to visit his brother. But once he saw that smile he could not wait to race him down the hall.




6 months later, and enjoying some VBS slip-n-slide action. Already asking when it is going to snow so he can ski again.  



Our family has been so truly blessed. Hoping for a better ski season in 2013!

post #2 of 22

How horrid!  Thank god it turned out all right.  And, yes to the helmet.  You never know.  

post #3 of 22

I'm so glad that your ski racer parent's worst nightmare has ended happily for Colsen. Thanks for sharing and may all the kids here be careful where trees are concerned. 

post #4 of 22


post #5 of 22

Wow what a story. Had me on the edge of my seat hoping Colsen was all right.  Scary stuff.

post #6 of 22

Thank God! We know the fear and I'm cringing now with the thought of it all. I can feel my heart in my throat looking at Colsen's photos, so pained to see his pain and so happy to see his resilience and zeal. You gotta love and cherish your children, they can enrich and teach us in so many ways.  

post #7 of 22
I was keeping my fingers crossed all would be well. Tell your son his guardian angel can only go 24mph!
post #8 of 22

unbelievably fortunate!  I really thought this was going another route on rehab and such.  Very happy to hear of a good outcome!  green shirt photo of Colsen is great ..


best to family and Colsen

post #9 of 22

Cheers to Colsen & family, & cheers to a bright future!


post #10 of 22

That was a harrowing story. Thanks for sharing something so personal.


PS - Great smile, Colsen!

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

I need to get a picture of his helmet. A BIG THANK YOU to K2 for saving his life.

post #12 of 22

You painted quite a picture with your description.  Gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  So glad that he's going to ski with you again this coming season.  

Maybe get in touch with K2 and let them know.  You could be an amazing testimony. 


Ski well Colson!!

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Mrs. Pug, First off congrats on the move and marriage. If you know of a rep. I would love to know. I have thought of contacting them many times but never have. I would even be willing to provide them the helmet for any research they could do.

post #14 of 22

Thanks for the good wishes.  I am truly living the dream, and hopefully I'm helping another bear fulfill some of his dreams.biggrin.gif



Lets see what we can dig up,(maybe our local rep, or someone  nolo works with)  and pass along to you.  I'm betting K2 would like to do something with this helmet.

post #15 of 22
Scary stuff - glad to read the happy ending.
post #16 of 22

So glad he is OK.  Love that electric smile!

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 



Mobile pic, a little blurry. With helmet on this is the left side. The front tab is pushed a little forward and the back tab is pulled out a little.




This is the right side. Picture says it all! With impact to the front left, the back right absorbed the energy.




Now I have to confess.

This is an adult small Helmet I used a few seasons ago. We tell Colsen all the time he has a watermelon (big) head. It fit him with the dial cranked down and I felt it was safe for falls and possibly getting run into. I never dreamed of the horrific accident he would have. I am not a helmet expert, but after the accident I began to think if the bigger size was his saving grace. Did the extra room in the back allow for the energy to be better absorbed by giving his head room to slide back before slamming into the back of the helmet. Would his head injury have been worse with his head confined inside a smaller helmet with no room for the strap to move like it did. I may never know.

post #18 of 22

...and so the legend begins.  After a rough start I think this young man is destined for great things in a life long love affair with skiing.  yahoo.gif

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Destined for X Game glory.

Aug. 2010, Broke his left ulna near the elbow no a trampoline.



Sept. 2011 Snapped both his left Radius & Ulna on the monkey bars at school.



Then the Ski accident Jan. 2012. In a span of 17 months, 12 broken or fractured bones. All 3 accidents he still had that electric smile!

Can you tell I was a medic..... I have pictures of everything cool, gross to others.

post #20 of 22

HAHA, I take pics of injuries too.  Crazy, eh? 

post #21 of 22

Based on the photos, it seems that the helmet moved upwards and backwards during the impact.  I'm far from an authority, but it doesn't seem like the way helmets are designed to work.  I think the ideal scenario would involve the helmet staying firmly in front of the forehead while the styrofoam squished to absorb energy.


The comment about the helmet perhaps being too large, and the trauma at the orbit suggest that energy was absorbed by the straps as the helmet was pushed out of position.  This seems a bit scary to me, as it sounds like a lever-type force on the neck.  It also drives home the importance of having the straps tight.  This is something my kids really don't like.


My theory, for what it's worth, is that his head did not move backwards in the helmet.  Rather, it moved forwards and down, relative to the helmet.  This put the chin strap and harness in the role of resisting the forces.  Depending on how much "give" this system had, and depending on the force of impact, it could be that this configuration absorbed the energy better than the styrofoam would have.  I can't say.  It's also possible that staying locked into the helmet would have allowed the styrofoam to absorb the forces that hit his eye socket.  I doubt there's a way to know.


In any case, I'm glad he's recovered.  It's pretty clear the helmet did no harm.  That makes me feel good about making sure my kids wear theirs.

post #22 of 22

Wow, as a parent of young boys, my heart's out to you and your son. FWIW, the orbital abrasions suggest the tree made actual contact with his skin instead of the helmet front edge, which suggests the helmet was pushed backwards and up by the tree. So IMO the extra space probably doesn't help; slippage or movement through airspace doesn't absorb much energy and repositions the head in a way that could be outside what the helmet's designed to do. We've put our boys (also melon heads) in POCS this year, your pics are making me wonder if they need face bars. Although a bar might have levered the neck the wrong way. Scary stuff. Hang in there. 

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