Steamboat Springs Longtime The Lowell Whiteman School teacher and Routt County Search and Rescue member Jim Linville now is recovering at Craig Hospital in Denver from a traumatic brain injury after a fall Oct. 27.
According to the most recent update on his www.caringbridge.org page, written by Linville’s wife, Joan Donham, he had several routine tests Tuesday.
Linville’s sister Jane, reached by phone from her home in Victor, Idaho, said he’s undergoing physical, speech and occupational therapy at the renowned Denver rehabilitation facility. She said he can walk with help and respond to questions, but really can’t carry on a conversation.
Jane Linville said he’s more alert and is sleeping better, which is a good sign for someone who suffered a brain injury. She said his doctors expect Linville to make a full recovery in time.
“He’s got to kind of rewire his brain,” Jane Linville said. “They feel positive he’ll come out of it fine, but it’s going to be a long haul.”
The CaringBridge page indicates Linville suffered a bruise to the right side of the brain and a fracture at the base of his skull.
Jane Linville said the family and Linville’s doctors aren’t sure exactly what happened. She said he peeked his head into a classroom at the school to say “hi” and either tripped or fainted and hit his head. She said doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him physically that could have caused the fall.
Linville was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center before being airlifted to Swedish Medical Center in Denver. He was in intensive care for three days.
While his doctors intend him eventually to return to the classroom, Jane Linville said they didn’t ask whether Linville would be able to return to his duties with Search and Rescue.
Search and Rescue President Russ Sanford said Linville has been a member of the group for 16 or 17 years. Sanford called him an “invaluable resource.”
He said Linville is one of Search and Rescue’s strongest backcountry skiers — and most knowledgeable of the backcountry, including Buffalo Pass — and several times has led a team as an incident commander skiing into the north fork of Fish Creek at night.
Sanford said Linville’s calm demeanor and ability to listen and communicate have helped save lives during his tenure.
“Jim is just one of those people that literally everybody gets along with Jim and respects Jim’s decisions,” Sanford said. “He’s one of those magical people that you love to have on the team.”
Jane Linville said Donham reads messages to her husband that people post on the CaringBridge page. She encouraged people to continue posting them at www.caringbridge.org/visit/jimlinville.
“It’s just been amazing, the response and the love,” Jane Linville said. “It helps so much.”
Linville joined the Whiteman staff in 1988. In addition to teaching geography and math, he has led foreign travel trips and the annual Desert Week kayaking trip through the Gates of Lodore on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument for about 20 years.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com