By Stephen Seitz
KILLINGTON — Friends of longtime area resident Bob Burke will be pleased to know he is recovering from a harrowing skiing accident at Killington several weeks ago.
Bob Burke has been skiing for 50 years. His wife, Debbie, said said he doesn’t remember how the accident happened.
“He fell off [the Panic Button trail] and hit some trees,” she said. “He broke 13 ribs and three vertebrae, and one of the ribs punctured his lung.”
The worst injury, she said, was to his spinal cord. The prognosis, she said, is uncertain.
“We won’t know for three to six months,” she said, adding that her husband could be in rehabilitation for up to eight months. He is currently in the Spaulding Rehab Center in Charlestown, Mass.
“He was brought first to Rutland Regional, and then airlifted to Dartmouth,” Debbie Burke said. “His spinal cord is still attached, but bruised. We hope he’ll regain feeling in his legs. We’re hoping when it heals, he’ll be home again.”
Debbie Burke said she was grateful not only for the care her husband is getting, but for those who got him into it so quickly.
“The care he got from (former Killington town constable and ski patrolman) Scott Biygelow, the medics on the chopper, and the staff at Dartmouth was just great,” she said. “They acted like a well-oiled machine.”
Debbie Burke herself is a volunteer firefighter and has long been part of the community.
“We’ve lived here for 39 years,” she said. “It’s good to have good friends.”
She added there is a lesson to be learned from Bob Burke’s experience.
“This shows how your whole life can be turned upside down in just a second,” she said. “Bob’s advice would be, ‘Don’t ski at the edge of the trails.’ This was totally unexpected.”
Debbie Burke said her husband would greatly appreciate receiving cards from friends. His address at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center is: 300 First Avenue, Room 621, Charlestown, MA 02129.