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Athlete’s Drive Matches Craig’s Commitment to Getting Patients Back to Work and Life

July 01, 2019

Scott Busch approached recovery from a bike-car accident the same way he approached his IRONMAN training—one obstacle, one victory, at a time. In the fall of 2017, he was nearing prime shape as he trained to complete his first IRONMAN, a grueling event where you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a marathon (26.2 miles). The Colorado native had two marathons under his belt and had completed the Double Triple Bypass—a 240-mile bike ride over mountain passes—five times. It was this athleticism that likely saved his life that day.

“October 20, 2017 is a day I will never remember but a day I can’t forget,” says Scott.

That evening while Scott was commuting home from his work as a software engineer, he reached the bottom of a long hill the same time a pick-up truck shot the gap to turn left between oncoming traffic. As Scott generously puts it, they simply “tried to occupy the same space at the same time.” He’s never once blamed the driver.

Scott was rushed to a nearby hospital in Lafayette, with little hope of making it. After spending a month in the ICU, he was transferred to Craig Hospital to begin his recovery from a traumatic brain injury and many broken bones, including a shattered leg.

Scott’s positive attitude and inner drive matched that of his doctors and therapists at Craig. The combination helped him reach impressive recovery goals during his hospital stay and outpatient therapy.

“More than anything, I wanted to run again. The Alter-G zero-gravity treadmill helped me do that, as did the staff at Craig who were phenomenal. Their continual positivity helped push me forward. They never let me get stuck, or stressed. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Craig and the support of my family,” Scott says.

Scott appreciates Craig’s focus on helping patients return to a meaningful life. On May 7, 2018 he returned to work, crediting the Craig Community Reintegration program for smoothing the transition.

“Hayley, my community reintegration therapist, was great. She considered aspects that I wouldn’t have thought of on returning to work. She served as a conduit between my employer and Craig doctors, handling logistic and legal hurdles. Hayley even came on site to assess my work environment and talk with my boss about what I needed to succeed,” Scott says.

Scott is back to commuting to work on his bike. He rides past the scene of the accident twice a day, letting the joy of riding beat out any fear. This fall, he plans to once again participate in Craig’s Pedal 4 Possible to benefit patients and programs. It was his first organized ride post-recovery in 2018.

“It’s a way I can give back to Craig Hospital, an organization I substantially believe in and will be forever grateful for. The incredible work they do is really eye opening, and I’m lucky Craig is right in my backyard,” Scott says.

Scott’s parents heartily agree. To show their dedication and appreciation to the doctors, therapists and nurses at Craig, Jay and Bunnie Busch established the Busch Scholarship Award. The scholarship supports staff to continue their education, enter a clinical field or advance their clinical degree.

Once again, Scott’s in training. He recently finished the BOLDER Boulder and might complete an Olympic distance triathlon.

“It’s incredible to be out there swimming, riding and running again. Someday, I’m not sure when, I will do an IRONMAN,” Scott says.