Truckee skier in critical condition after head injury
Professional freestyle skier and Truckee native C.R. Johnson, 22, remains in critical condition at the University of Utah Hospital after he suffered a serious head injury while working on a film at Brighton ski area on Dec. 8.
Johnson’s father Russ, who has been at his son’s bedside since the evening of the accident, said the injury occurred mid morning while filming a sequence in which several skiers hit a small jump in succession, each performing their own trick.
C.R. Johnson and another athlete collided together, Russ Johnson said. As C.R. was getting up he was struck by another skier. Despite wearing a helmet, the collision knocked him unconscious for about four or five minutes, his father said, leaving a small gash above his eyebrow that needed just three stitches to seal up.
Russ Johnson said C.R. then awoke and was conscious before and after being air lifted to the Salt Lake City hospital. There, he became somewhat combative ” a common effect of a head injury, Russ Johnson said ” and doctors sedated him.
C.R. Johnson remained in a coma until Sunday, when he opened his eyes and began responding to commands, his father said. He still is unable to speak, and doctors told Russ Johnson that there is no way of foreseeing how he will recover.
“It’s gonna be a long haul,” Russ Johnson said. “But he’s fighting really hard. He’s young, strong and fit and so we’re optimistic about a complete recovery.”
In what Russ Johnson said is typical of being on a respirator for a lengthy duration, C.R. has also developed some complications, including a high fever from pneumonia.
“This is pretty much every parent’s nightmare,” said Johnson, who has been joined in the hospital by his wife Lorraine and other immediate family members. “He’s always been a very cautious kid. He’s not careless, not cavalier whatsoever. It’s unfortunate that this happened … It’s a real difficult thing to go through.”
In an outpouring of support, thousands of cards have arrived from people all around the world, Russ Johnson said. C.R. was also joined in the hospital by many of his friends. Lately, however, visitors have been limited to just those in the immediate family.
“We appreciate the concern they have and them coming by, and I know C.R. would appreciate it, too,” Russ Johnson said. “But now is just a real critical time. His brain has a lot of healing to do.”
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