CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — Blood transfusions a New Hampshire man received on a LifeFlight helicopter likely saved his life after he suffered life-threatening injuries Saturday when he hit a tree while snowboarding on Sugarloaf Mountain, his father said Monday.
Grant Jones of Bedford, N.H., said his son, Nicholas, 24, was conscious and communicative Monday as he recovered at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
“It’s like Christmas morning for us. We’re elated that he is scheduled, at this point, to make a full recovery,” Grant Jones said. Nicholas’ mother, Vivian, works in the advertising department of the New Hampshire Union Leader.
“Nicholas is taking a turn for the good, fortunately,” Grant Jones said. “He still hasn’t been upgraded from critical condition, but things are looking up.”
Grant Jones said his son hit the tree so hard the impact split his liver, which had to be surgically repaired.
“It was terrible, terrible,” Grant Jones said. “It was just through blunt force trauma.”
Nicholas Jones also broke every bone in his face, broke every rib on the right side of his body and shattered his pelvis, his father said.
“There was no brain damage or spinal damage, which was a blessing,” he said.
Nicholas was wearing a helmet while snowboarding with classmates from the New England School of Optometry when he veered off the trail and wasn’t able to slow down because the woods grounds had ice or bare ground rather than snow cover, Grant Jones said.
“He was doing what a 24-year-old does, going fast,” he said. “He caught an edge and lost control.”
Nicholas Jones’ accident happened days after a Canadian man hit a tree, then died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Nicholas Jones, though, was flown to a hospital, which likely saved his life, his father said.
“If not for the efforts of the guys on the helicopter, he’d have been dead on arrival,” he said.
Instead, Nicholas Jones has a series of coming surgeries to repair his pelvis and the broken bones in his face, but is expected to graduate on time from optometry school on time and begin a career in the U.S. Air Force, his father said.