‘Super Woman Sally’ awakes
By Jim Stanford, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
April 6, 2012
After 11 days in a coma, a skier injured in a fall outside Jackson Hole Mountain Resort awoke Wednesday and squeezed the hands of family and friends.
Sally Francklyn, 24, responded to prompting by doctors and showed encouraging signs, friend and co-worker Eric Henderson said.
After doctors cut off Francklyn’s sedation, “All of us were on the edge of our seats,” said Henderson, who traveled to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center to visit her.
By afternoon, she was wiggling fingers and toes as he razzed her.
“She’s going to make it,” he said, ecstatic. “It’s just unbelievable.”
Francklyn, account executive at the Jackson public relations firm Denny, Ink., suffered a fractured skull and other injuries March 24 when she fell in the Once Is Enough chute south of the resort boundary. She tumbled several hundred feet and shattered her helmet on rocks.
Jackson Hole Ski Patrol and Teton County Search and Rescue responded. Rescuers flew Francklyn to the resort base and then to the Idaho hospital, where she has been in intensive care. Doctors induced the coma until swelling subsided in her brain.
Although she moved to Jackson recently from Colorado, Francklyn is well known in the ski industry, having worked as Web editor for Ski and Skiing magazines. She is a maven in social media, and her injury triggered an outpouring online. A Facebook group her brother created, called “Super Woman Sally,” grew to nearly 1,400 members, and her CaringBridge page has more than 23,000 visits.
Friends had been cheering her on while she slept, never giving up hope that a person known for her strength and positive attitude would rise from her hospital bed.
Henderson cautioned that Francklyn still has a long recovery ahead of her, and doctors are unsure what effects may linger from the injury. But X-rays and imaging tests are “fairly positive,” he said.
“She’s not [in] the clear, but yes, it’s a huge improvement,” he said. Doctors are “optimistic that she’s going to walk on this Earth again.”
Francklyn is still in critical condition, Henderson said. But if she improves as expected, she could be transported to Colorado as early as next week, he said.
Francklyn’s parents, Reg and Barb, have been involved with ski patrol at Colorado’s Copper Mountain since Sally was 16. Reg Francklyn is a photographer and wilderness first responder. Sally Francklyn had an offer to join the Copper Mountain patrol before she moved to Jackson. The family has praised rescuers in Teton County who immediately provided care after the accident.
The family is working with Denny, Ink. to devise a fundraiser to give back, Henderson said.
For a ski industry battered by bad news all winter, from avalanche deaths to the Feb. 15 helicopter crash that killed Teton County rescue volunteer Ray Shriver, the news of Francklyn’s awakening has raised spirits.
“It’s huge,” said Henderson, who was Shriver’s neighbor in Teton Valley, Idaho. “It’s a rebirth, if you will, for Sally and her family.”
The following statement came from Sally Francklyn’s father, Reg Francklyn, regarding yesterday’s story about her recovery.
“A recent newspaper report has given the public the impression that Sally Francklyn was recovering faster than is actually the case. While the Doctors at [Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center] feel that she is making progress, the public needs to know her recovery will take time and patience. Once Sally has been upgraded to “serious” we will release further information. We appreciate all the messages of support and we encourage everyone to pray along with us for her continued recovery to health.”