Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

So my ski season appears to be over, the victim of a hard fall on an even harder mogul that broke my humerus bone in three spots. While I have tried to find the humor in the name of the bone I broke, thus far I have been unsuccessful.

That does not mean that I have not found a bright side, a high point if you will, from the experience.

I took my fall at noon this past Sunday on what, for the purposes of this story, will remain an unnamed mountain. It was an ass over teakettle fall and once I landed I knew that I seriously damaged myself. I grabbed my poles in my good hand, scurried to get my skis on my downhill side and stood up, trying to assess the situation. As I began to melt in pain a skiing angel came along and encouraged me to sit down and wait for a ride to the clinic. She had seen me tumble and was pretty adamant that I needed some assistance.

To her chagrin, she practically ordered me to take a seat, I took off down the hill in search of the clinic. Halfway down I spied a pair of patrollers with a fellow skier in a sled and dropped in right behind them skiing straight to the clinic.

As soon as I stopped, one of the patrollers, noticing my pain, told me not to move. He came up and popped me out of my skis, took my poles, removed my goggles and walked me right to the front desk of the clinic.

There was a clean handoff as the clinic took over. The asked me my name, my date of birth and about what symptoms I was feeling. In seconds I was on a gurney and nurses were taking my boots and shirt off and getting my blood pressure. I was wheeled into an X-ray room and pictures were taken of the shoulder. Ten minutes later an attending physician came over with the X-rays and provided a diagnosis, prescription for pain and a plan for the next 48 hours.

By 2 p.m. I was all done. Still hurting but fully cognizant of the extent of my injury, what I should expect and what options existed for treatment. The efficiency of the entire process was as comforting as it was spectacular.

Ask a patroller or an emergency tech and they will likely say, “It’s just what we do.” But having watched how well they do what they do from flat on my back in a gurney, I have a new appreciation for how ski resorts are set up to handle those who take big or the small fall.

When you think about it, is there any other sport that you play or even activity that you participate in where a fully equipped medical facility awaits you if you get hurt? How about one that has certified medical techs patrolling the area where you play?

No, my take-away from getting hurt the other day is that if you have to break your shoulder, skiing at a big time resort is the place to do it.


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