‘Likely vegetative state’: Young skier hospitalized after colliding with tree at Eldora

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A skier who collided with a tree Tuesday is in the hospital with a severe brain injury, according to a statement posted online by the victim’s family friend.

According to a spokesperson for the Eldora Mountain Resort, the accident happened at roughly 3:45 p.m. and Ski Patrol responded to treat the skier at the scene. He was transported to Boulder Community Hospital via helicopter.

The victim, 26, was identified by his family as Billy Brockmueller.  An update posted online by a family friend on Sunday said that Brockmuller has been taken off paralytic medication.

The full statement can be found below:

“It’s been a roller coaster these last few days as they determine how to hold the tension of a profound faith and hope for the miraculous, while also coping with the clinical realities of Billy’s condition. At this point, Billy has been taken off all paralytic medication and has been on his own, with the help of the ventilator and some maintenance IV fluids. He can not be declared officially brain dead according to the hospital protocols because he can breath [sic] on his own when taken off the ventilator. This means that there may be some function coming from his brain stem, but the brain injury he has sustained continues to be severe. He has had a little bit of movement in his body that the doctors believe is coming from his brain stem, but they do not believe the movement is considered “purposeful” from a full brain function perspective.

‘It is so difficult to know how to weigh these decisions but the appropriate time has come not to intervene with full-on treatment. Billy will have another night on the ventilator to see if any purposeful movement will happen and the family will take it a day at a time. Because the doctors have been clear that Billy’s brain injury will likely lead to a vegetative state if Billy survives, the Brockmuellers will have to determine the right next steps as the next few days unfold. If Billy’s condition gets to a point where it is deemed appropriate to remove the ventilator, the Brockmuellers will wait for nature to take its course and for God to peacefully take Billy in His time. Pleas [sic] pray with fervency that God would give the Brockmueller family wisdom, clarity, and discernment in how/when to make this decision.”

Officials say Brockmueller was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.

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