Doctors expect full recovery for Steamboat City Manager Jon Roberts
Wife says his condition improves daily
January 12, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Doctors expect Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts to make a full recovery from critical injuries and brain trauma sustained in a Jan. 2 skiing accident, his wife said Wednesday.
"I have heard (doctors) say he'll be 100 percent at some point, but they don't know when that is," LeAnn Roberts said. "They say it will be unnoticeable. … They really have that kind of hope for Jon."
A long recovery lies ahead. LeAnn Roberts said there's no timetable for when her husband might return home to Steamboat. He's remained in critical condition at Denver Health medical center since the accident, in which he also suffered three broken ribs, a broken bone below his left eye and a separation of his left shoulder at the collarbone.
LeAnn Roberts said doctors and the family are trying to move Jon Roberts to Craig Hospital, a Denver facility that specializes in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. She said an immediate transfer is difficult because the facility is crowded.
She said Wednesday that Jon Roberts could be moved from the intensive care unit at Denver Health and upgraded to "fair" condition, but hospital staff didn't confirm that because his condition remained in flux.
LeAnn Roberts said her husband is breathing on his own, participating in physical therapy and communicating, primarily through writing on a pad. He has said, "hi."
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LeAnn Roberts said doctors are working to find a device that will help Jon Roberts talk, which at the moment takes significant effort for him.
She's been at the hospital since the accident with their three children: JB, 25; Jason, 22; and Laurie, 20. Jon Roberts' sister, Carol, has spent a week at the hospital, as well. The children are starting to make their way home. JB, for example, will check in at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Jon Roberts regained consciousness Monday after spending more than a week in a slightly responsive state that doctors considered unconscious.
His personality has surfaced.
"He's already got his sense of humor back, and he's annoyed with all of us," LeAnn Roberts said.
At one point she was asking her husband to point at pictures of simple objects displayed on a board. He obligingly pointed to a clock, but when LeAnn Roberts continued with another simple request, he rolled his eyes as if to say, "You've got to be kidding me."
At that point, JB suggested that his mother put the board away.
"He's all there; it's just his brain needs to heal," LeAnn Roberts said.
His body has significant healing to do, as well.
Jon Roberts' shoulder separation probably is the most painful of his injuries, his wife said, and could be the most enduring physical ailment.
"He'll be in a sling for a long time," she said.
Doctors won't immediately conduct surgery to repair the broken bone below his eye, but that lies ahead, too. LeAnn Roberts said her husband's vision is not damaged.
When his motor skills improve, he'll need significant work to rebuild muscle.
On top of it all, Jon Roberts has pneumonia.
But LeAnn Roberts said attitudes have been very positive. She attributed a lot of that to the response from friends in Steamboat, who among other things have sent an avalanche of fruit baskets that have kept the family fed.
"The support from Steamboat has been astronomical; I can't even describe it. I've never been able to have that kind of community," she said. "It's tough to live in Steamboat … so everybody just roots for you so much. It's done so much for my family."