Boy who fell off ski lift on mend
Posted: January 25, 2013
The Winchester Star
CHARLOTTESVILLE — A 9-year-old Powhatan School student who was seriously injured Tuesday after falling about 30 feet from a Bryce Resort ski lift is “definitely on the mend,” his mother says.
“He’s doing fine,” Sheila Baker said of her son, Ethan, in a phone interview late Thursday afternoon. “He got out of surgery (to repair a broken femur) around 9:30 this morning. It went very well.”
Baker and her son, who live in Charles Town, W.Va., remained at the University of Virginia Medical Center Thursday, where she estimated they will stay for almost another week.
Ethan and his parents were at the ski resort this week as part of Powhatan’s “Winter Tuesday” — four consecutive Tuesdays in which students at the school either ski or snowboard at Bryce. An on-campus program is also available for students who don’t wish to participate.
The accident occurred around 2:15 p.m., when the ski lift carrying Ethan, his father and another student abruptly stopped and one of them lifted the bar.
Ethan slipped off the lift, landed on his side and was briefly knocked unconscious, according to his mother.
In addition to a broken femur, he suffered a concussion as well as fractures and a large gash around his left eye.
At the time, doctors thought they would need to remove his spleen — an abdominal organ involved in the production and removal of blood cells and forming part of the immune system — but that is no longer the case.
“They were holding off as long as possible; they were getting the bleeding under control,” Baker said. “It just mended itself.”
Baker said doctors used small metal rods during Thursday’s surgery, but that Ethan would not need a cast on his leg.
The healing process is expected to take four to six weeks.
“I feel so much better since he got out of surgery,” a relieved Baker said.
She has gotten little rest and has been by her son’s side through the entire ordeal.
“Every time I heard a beep, or an alarm went off or I heard him, I was up,” she said of when she did try to sleep.
Immediately after the accident, Ethan was in so much pain that he couldn’t move his neck, and his leg was held up in a “contraption,” his mother said, adding that it was a difficult to see her son in that condition.
“He was miserable, miserable,” she said.
Now he is alert and feeling good, said Baker, who indicated that her son only remembers bits and pieces of the accident.
Ethan will be on crutches until he feels comfortable putting weight on his leg, but Baker said she is hopeful he will be able to return to school in the next couple of weeks.
“He can just take baby steps [right now],” she said.
Powhatan is a private kindergarten through eighth grade school located in Boyce.
Baker said she has been apprising Head of School Susan Scarborough of the fourth-grader’s condition so that she can update concerned students and parents.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at firstname.lastname@example.org