By TRACEY ROXBURGH
An Arrowtown pastor’s set himself a target of being back on the slopes at 100% next season after a ‘‘freak accident’’ at Coronet Peak on July 25 left him with two large metal rods in his hip joint.
St John’s Presbyterian Church pastor Carlton Johnstone, 48, says he was in ‘‘absolute agony’’ after a straightforward dismount from the Coronet Express chairlift went pear-shaped.
Johnstone pushed off down the slope, with one foot out of his bindings.
When he hit an icy section, his board went from under him and he fell, causing an impact fracture.
He says the pain was a ‘‘nine or 10 out of 10’’ and he was close to passing out afterwards.
‘‘It was pretty intense.”
Coronet’s medical crew rendered assistance — one held his leg because he couldn’t straighten it, another held up his back and kept him comfortable while he was given morphine and oxygen to numb the pain.
After they got him down the mountain to assess him he was choppered to Southland Hospital for emergency surgery.
He’s off his feet for six weeks before he’ll have an assessment to work out the next stage of his recovery.
But he says the impacts of a serious injury are huge, not least for his wife, Sarah.
‘‘She’s had pretty disrupted sleep looking after me and is up early with the kids.
‘‘She’s taken leave without pay and some sick leave.
‘‘It’s been a challenging time.’’
He’s grateful, though, for support from ACC and is planning to be up the hill next winter.
‘‘I have a lot of rehab, strength and physio work ahead of me, but it’s great to have a goal.’’
New app to lower injury rates
ACC injury prevention leader Kirsten Malpas is hoping to reduce skifield injuries through a
new custom-made app.
Last year ACC had 17,935 active claims from skiers and snowboarders who injured themselves on the slopes — they came with a $29.4 million price tag to help them recover.
Malpas says ACC was approached by SAANZ, which represents New Zealand’s commercial skifield interests, to help develop the ‘National Incident Data’, or NID, app, for the ski industry.
It helps record, track and respond to near-misses and injuries as soon as possible.
‘‘Being able to see where injuries are happening is a great way for skifield managers to
respond and make decisions that can improve safety.’’
She says operators can, for the first time, get precise information and see trends developing daily, weekly, or seasonally.
It can also be used to help prevent future injuries — for example, if a field operator sees a
trend of near-misses on a particular run, all by inexperienced skiers, they can revise the rating.
Johnstone’s a fan.
‘‘I imagine the staff on the mountain could see something like,’ it’s quite icy around the
Coronet Express chairlift, take extra care’.
‘‘So, depending on people’s levels, they can manage that risk.’’
— TRACEY ROXBURGH