I debated posting details about this online, however, I am getting more and more texts, calls, DMs, questions, etc asking about an accident I had on Saturday and I figured it would be best to outline the high level details of the incident and my health in one place to help answer questions and concerns.
Over the weekend we flew out to Reno to visit our good friends Mark, Laura and their kids. We hadn’t been out there in 4 or so years and were so excited to see them but also to get a chance to ski with Mark at some of our favorite ski resorts.
On Saturday, we dropped Rainier off with Laura and the kids and headed West to Tahoe. It was just like a normal morning at the mountain. We got suited up and hit the tram first thing. The views were breathtaking and I was soaking it all in. The beauty of the snow, the cliffs, seeing the joyful smiles on the faces of people skiing down the mountain. A blue bird day. It was pure bliss.
We took one run down to a lift (I can’t recall details before the accident such as names and such and have a hard time recalling names such as brand names ,etc) to a lift. Took that up and Mark and I sat on the edge of a steep cliff debating if it was too hard to take or not. Courtney already bombed down. I took the easy way and traversed across the steep cliff instead of going straight down, all while doing a live video on Instagram to show my audience the beauty of the mountain. I shut down the phone, shoved it in my pocket and regrouped with everyone at the bottom. We decided we would hit the next lift towards the bottom of the mountain, Headwall. As we got closer, I saw there wasn’t a line and that I needed good speed to be able to snowboard right up to the end of the line and not have to walk or take my board off. Being lazy that I am, I started to “bomb it” as I call it, in which I beeline it trying to pickup as much speed as possible. Somewhere in the middle there was a curve and as I was turning, I just lost my edge and bit it. I don’t remember the sequence of events here, what I hit first. I remember screaming “Ow Ow my head” and then wretched screams from pain in my arm. I was right under the lift too.Courtney told me people were screaming down asking if they should get ski patrol when they got to the top, asking if I was okay, etc. My vision was immediately knocked out completely so fortunately I don’t recall this embarrassment. From here it’s all hazy. A team of ski patrol people assisted me down the mountain. I am so thankful for how quickly it seemed they got there and the good care they gave me from assessing the situation to getting me down the mountain safely on the sled.
They took me to the clinic. They ran some tests and determined I had a concussion, x-ray showed my arm wasn’t broken thank goodness though my hand was numb and I had tingling all down my arm. They had immediate concerns of a spinal injury also due to pain in my neck. At one point Courtney and Mark got called and was told to pack up that they were sending me to the trauma center (an hour away by ambulance) in Reno.
One of my only memories in the clinic at Squaw is hearing Mark’s voice as they lifted me up on the backboard into the ambulance and screaming out to Mark, “I am so sorry for ruining your day, Mark!” It was only the second run of the day and the poor guy’s day would be ruined too. Courtney accompanied me in the ambulance while Mark drove our rental car back to Reno.
Again, all hazy most of the day. Hours later, I recall being in the room in the hospital and my vision came back but with vengeance. My head was splitting in pain and my arm was burning. I was in tears again. They had already taken me a couple of times for tests and we had been there for a few hours (total 7 hours). One other memory I have is dying of hunger and Courtney bringing me ice cream because that or yogurt was the only thing I could open my mouth just enough for being in the neck brace to eat.
My last test was an MRI because they still couldn’t figure out why my hand was numb/pins and needles and same with my arm. Fortunately, all of the tests came back clear for spinal breaks or fractures. At this point they removed the neck brace and put me in a sling. They discharged me with pain meds and orders to follow-up ASAP when I get back to SLC for the arm (they were most concerned about the spinal injury). Also, the doctor came running in at the last minute when I was being discharged to let me know about something he forgot to mention. Unrelated to the accident, they found a mass during my MRI scan and “it could be cancerous” and “You should go get a biopsy right away”. Okay, great. Thanks doc.
So, three days out. I have a splitting headache still, my whole upper body hurts, but fortunately I have pain meds. Though the pain meds knock me out. I’ve been sleeping mostly day and night. The feeling has come back on my hand and arm thankfully. I’ve noticed some things with my brain don’t seem to be working as quickly as they did before or I just can’t flat out recall the name or word of the thing I am trying to say. I can’t lift Rainier and I can’t lift my arm past the perpendicular point of my shoulder. Courtney thinks it could be a pinched nerve or whatnot. I’ll be in multiple doc visits today to review paperwork, do more testing and will hopefully have some more answers later today. As for the mass… Let’s hope it’s benign.
I do also have a preexisting health condition that there was major concern about during this accident and for those close to me who know are concerned about, that condition is a-okay, thankfully. The brunt of the impact was my lower head, then my arm.
I cannot stress how important it is to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding, or any activity for that matter. I was on a BLUE trail. I am an expert snowboarder and this accident happened on a beginner/immediate trail. The day before I forgot my helmet. Fortunately, I borrowed one. But it didn’t fit my head perfectly and was a “band-aid” for the real safety I needed. I could potentially be brain dead right now if I wasn’t wearing my helmet and even had been wearing someone else’s. And yes, for those that know, after any sort of hit to the head in a helmet, even if you don’t think it’s a super bad hit, can impact the integrity of the helmet and you should replace it before using it again. Do not cut corners with this one guys. Always wear a helmet and regardless of finances, you can’t afford to lose your life life over something so easy to stay on top of. Trust me, you can afford a new helmet after a head hit with a helmet even if it doesn’t seem too bad. Don’t mess with your head. And make sure your kids are always wearing helmets too!
Thanks to everyone who has brought flowers, sent cards, send well wishes and warm thoughts. I really appreciate your care and concerns. I am hopeful in a few weeks I’ll be laughing about all of this and hopefully back on the slopes again.
*One last cheers to our amazing friends Laura and Mark for helping us on Saturday and Sunday. Mark drove our rental car back to Reno while we were in the ambulance and also was responsible for getting ski patrol so quickly. They also helped us so much – from watching Rainier, feeding us, to driving back to Squaw on Sunday to get my board, helmet, and gloves from the clinic. What incredible good people and friends they are.