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Andrew’s Story

Andrew's Road to Recovery

Welcome to Andrew Goodwillie's Road to Recovery website. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story. Please visit frequently to find out the latest news in Andrew's recovery in the journal entries, and write comments and well wishes in our guestbook.

On Saturday, July 30th around 12:30pm Andrew was racing in the Crankworx Cross country race in Winter Park, CO. He was racing in the top 5, doing great, and while descending late in the race, Andrew crashed. About 10 seconds after the crash, another rider, Josh Teplitzsky, who was right behind Andrew, found him and sent for help.  Andrew sustained a serious impact to his head and his helmet was cracked. A few minutes later, other riders came upon him and stabilzed him, including an EMT (Bart) who was also racing. Once race officials were notified of the crash, the racers from above were slowed and the race was stopped. Shortly after, his friend Todd Haavind, also racing (but far far behind!) came upon the accident and realized it was Andrew. Todd provided information as Andrew was stabilized. About 45 minutes later, medical personnel as well as other riders carried the backboard with Andrew off the mountain. He was airlifted to Denver Health. Meanwhile Catherine was notified and on her way to meet the ambulance which arrived at Denver Health around 3:00. Once at Denver Health, Andrew was stabilized, admitted to the Surgical ICU, and a full body CT was done. Andrew suffered a severe head trauma and had bleeding in the brain, but no physical injuires other than facial contusions and abrasions. He was intubated to assist with his breathing, though he could breath on his own, and his intercranial pressures were being closely monitored. The first night was very anxiety provoking, but his pressures never rose and he remained stable. Sunday morning, a third CT scan showed that the bleeding in his brain had stopped. They slowly decreased the amount of sedation medication to see how he would respond and Andrew's feisty personality came out as he tried to pull out his catheter and flashed some visitors while trying to rip off his blankets! Later in the afternoon, he began opening his left eye, looking at a photo of the kids and writing some words, including "Kelly". Andrew is talking a bit, but it is difficult to understand him and he is very tired. Andrew's condition is improving and the doctors are encouraged with his continual progress and are optimistic. His right side continues to show some weakness, which is consistent with the brain bleeding and swelling in the left side. His breathing tube was removed this afternoon along with the intercranial pressure monitor, and the doctors are very encouraged by his progress. We are optimistic that with each day we will see more forward steps in Andrew's recovery. The doctor's have told us that with an injury of this nature, the progress will be slow and the recovery long. But we all know that Andrew is a strong and determined man, and he will tackle this challenge just like he tackles everything in his life. And with the amazing support of his family and friends, we will all help Andrew, Catherine and the boys through this time. Catherine and their boys are grateful for everyones love, support and prayers. If you have any questions, please call Suzy (303) 596-4605, Stephanie (303) 523-1820 or Diane (303) 809-5473.

Latest Journal Update

Home Sweet Home

Hi Everyone!  Well, what can I say, life is good, life is busy!  Andrew has been doing remarkably well and has enjoyed being home more than words can say.  I literally haven't had a second to write as we have been so busy with school starting for the kids, out-patient therapy for Andrew, doctor's appointments, etc.

Andrew returned home a week ago Friday and transitioned into the role of Daddy seemlessly.  Kelly, Rhys and Beckett are THRILLED to say the least and know that Daddy sustained a "bad boo on his head" but can see how great Daddy is doing now.

Andrew is walking, unassisted, pretty much everywhere, including up and down the stairs and his balance is much, much better.  He's sleeping very well in his own bed and taking daily naps.  The staff at Craig recommended that he rest as much as possible and he is making a concerted effort to do so.

He was at Craig three days last week for occupational, speech, and physical therapies, as well as community integration, meetings with the neuropsychologist, etc.  The staff continues to be phenomenal and supportive and we are so blessed to be working with them.

In addition, Andrew has started to ride his bike on his trainer!  He is riding at low speeds for short intervals, but is absolutely thrilled to be back on the bike.

His neuropsychologist indicated that he had several recommendations that he proposed.  First, Andrew is not allowed to bike outside or ski until the Craig staff says he is ready.  He also cannot drive until they deem him ready.  He cannot drink alcohol for a year, and cannot do anything that could lead him to risk another head injury.  He is also a higher risk for seizures for a year.

We still have a long road ahead....Andrew's right hand and arm are still very weak, and he still has issues with language and cognitive ability.  He is working so very hard on all of these areas and has an amazingly positive attitude.  He is grateful everyday and I can see the joy in his face and the twinkle in his eyes while interacting with our boys.

That being said, I think that his recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, actually, miraculous, and I know for a fact that we couldn't have gotten through this difficult and trying time without you all.   Your support, love, well wishes and food have been invaluable to our family and I'm trying to start writing the 1500 thank you notes that I need to write but please be patient.  :)

Also, many of you have been asking me if we still need meals.  I am loathe to ask for the help but I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to not have to worry about food for the night.  So, my friends have been encouraging me to post the food link again and just know how grateful we are.  I'm not sure how to return the favor, but please know that it is  appreciated from the bottom of our hearts.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge my beautiful, lovely, kind and creative mother-in-law, Mary Nelson or "Grandma Mary."  She has been in Denver since August 28th and I don't know what we are going to do when she leaves at the end of September.  She has just been a godsend....driving the children to and from school, Andrew to and from Craig, going to the grocery, making meals and most of all, just playing with the kids.  Shes a marvelous person, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother and we are so very grateful.  Also, thank you to her husband, Grandpa Jim, for all of is great help when he was in town and to my fabulous Daddy, Joe Dietrich, or "Papaw" as our boys call him.  It's amazing and comforting to have family in town.

Love to you all and many, many thanks,