Ex-SH vaulter injured

Sweet Home High School graduate Keegan Burnett remains hospitalized after a pole vaulting accident on May 2 at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

The college senior at Idaho State, Burnett was warming up at a meet at Weber State when he was injured, his mother, Alice Burnett, said. While warming up, Burnett vaulted, came down and bounced a couple of times on the mats before slipping onto exposed concrete behind the mats and hitting his head.

He was out for a few minutes following the accident but conscious as medics loaded him onto an ambulance, his mother said. He struggled with the medics, insisting it was his turn to jump.

Medics sedated him and took him to McKay Dee Hospital, about a mile from the track meet.

A CT scan showed bleeding in the right frontal lobe of his brain, Alice Burnett said. That bleeding slowed and then stopped after awhile. Since then, doctors have kept him heavily sedated with a breathing tube to minimize stimulation to help keep swelling down.

Swelling was expected, Burnett said. A probe monitors the pressure on his brain caused by the swelling.

“They will leave the probe in his head as they reduce the sedation to make sure that as he regains consciousness the pressure doesn’t increase and that it will take a few days for all that to happen and him to wake up,” she said. “(The doctor) expects him to be on the ventilator until the end of the week.”

Doctors tell Mrs. Burnett that brain injuries are different for different individuals and the effects and recovery time remain unknown.

Burnett’s mother and father, Rick Burnett, flew to Utah on May 3 to be with their son.

Alice Burnett said she is especially thankful to the hospital and its staff. She also appreciates the support of everyone back home, especially at Sweet Home High School where Burnett’s sister, McKenna, is a sophomore.

Everyone at the high school has been “wonderful” to her, Alice Burnett said. “We are so grateful for all the prayers and good thoughts.”

NCAA insurance will cover medical expenses, she said. Officials from both Idaho State and Weber State have assured the family that everything will be handled.

Burnett attended Linn-Benton Community College after high school, his redshirt year. He transferred to Lane Community College and vaulted there. While there, he set team records. He vaulted for University of Oregon last year and transferred to Idaho State in January. He is majoring in human physiology.

Alice Burnett is updating a blog about Burnett’s condition at http://www.carepages.com daily. To access it, users will need to create a user account and search for “vaulterboy.”

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