TV program tells Tarver’s story
December 11, 2002
Aspen resident and shop owner Charlie Tarver is featured briefly in a show on the Fox Sports network that focuses on the high-speed mountain biking accident he survived earlier this year.
The show “You gotta see this!” on Fox Sports recently showed the crash from the U.S. Speed Skiing National Championships on Snowmass Mountain that left Tarver in a coma for a week. The show replayed the harrowing crash several times, and Tarver and his friends were interviewed.
“They put things on this show where no human is expected to survive,” Tarver said. “But I guess I was too ornery to die.”
He has a videotape of the show at his business, the Hub of Aspen, and willingly watches the footage of a day he can’t remember. The show’s announcer describes the sport as a “dangerous, high-adrenaline winter sport that’s definitely not for the faint of heart” just before footage of the crash is aired.
In the videotape, Tarver tells a video camera just before the run, “The first run will either be great or it’ll be the last,” a comment he now calls “prophetic.”
Minutes later he’s riding his bike down the mountain during a demonstration and hits 96 mph just before a bump on the run pitches him headfirst onto the ground.
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Tarver’s limp body slides for several hundred feet, and Snowmass ski patrollers surround him.
Besides serious brain hemorrhaging that left him in the coma, Tarver also suffered a broken clavicle, a broken rib and had a partially collapsed lung.
The show also includes interviews with Tarver in the hospital after he woke up, and several months after the crash in which he acknowledges that he’s lucky to be alive. He thanks the community for their concern, prayers and support.
The segment concludes with Tarver participating in the Ride for the Pass this spring. He remains in therapy, but still arrives to work at the Hub every day.
“According to the doctors I see, I’m better and better each time they see me,” Tarver said. “But for me, I feel like I have a long way to go.”
Wearing a patch on one eye or the other to help him live with a visual impairment that causes him to have double vision, Tarver has some difficulties with motor skills such as typing or flipping through a phone book with one hand.
He said the worst part of the wreck was knowing the shock his family and friends went through, so he was happy to spread the news that he is doing well. The money Fox Sports paid for the video footage was donated to charity, he said.
“I think it’s good to know that sometimes people go through hardship, [and] they can survive and do well,” Tarver said. “A lot of people were excited that even though I was this sick and beat up, I can still come back to a normal life.”
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]