Tarver still in intensive care, but workers say he’s making progress
March 5, 2002
Aspen business owner and bicycle enthusiast Charlie Tarver remains in intensive care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction a week after suffering a serious brain injury.
Tarver was reported to be wavering between “conscious” and “napping,” said his wife, Kim, and his employees at the Hub of Aspen bike shop. Last Tuesday Tarver crashed his bike during a demonstration at the U.S. Speed Skiing National Championships at Snowmass Ski Area.
Although Tarver is still listed in serious condition by a hospital spokesperson, others say he has made some progress in the past few days.
“He sits up sometimes for a little while and keeps his eyes open for a little bit,” said Bob Penland, a Hub of Aspen employee. “He recognizes people when they walk into the room and waves at them. He is off the respirator, and he has not spoken yet, but we’re waiting to see if he’ll speak or talk in the next days.”
Penland added that his boss is “moving around more than ever,” and hospital staff is getting him out of bed and helping him walk around the room in small amounts.
“The doctors say he’s doing better than they thought he would at this point,” Kim Tarver said. “He should be out of the ICU in the future, but that could be a week or a month.”
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Hospital officials reported that Tarver had suffered a closed head injury during the accident, indicating that his brain had been shaken violently in his skull, resulting in several hemorrhages that ultimately damaged his brain stem. The brain stem controls functions like breathing, heart beat and blood pressure.
Tarver had reached over 90 mph in the speed demonstration down Snowmass’ speed course on Slot. He was thrown over his handlebars toward the end of the course. He suffered a broken rib, a partially collapsed lung and a broken clavicle, in addition to the head injury, as a result of the impact with the ground.