Christina Porter ’06, who has been in a coma for over six months, is gradually regaining consciousness and her ability to communicate. She was recently moved to JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, N.J., according to Christina’s father Brent Porter.
Christina experienced severe head trauma following an accident at the Dartmouth Skiway on Feb. 3.
According to her father, JFK Johnson is the best facility in the Northeast for Christina’s particular condition. Christina had previously been under the watch of physicians at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City for four months. She received care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center immediately following the accident.
Christina has been moved to the rehabilitation center because she has been showing signs of consciousness. She has been responding to loved ones by moving one of her fingers, Christina’s father said.
“She can communicate with us with her left index finger,” Brent said.
He also said that Christina now recognizes her Dartmouth friends. “Now when her friends visit, she clearly recognizes them,” Brent said. “She’s begun to weep when her Dartmouth friends come to visit her.”
Brent and his wife Mary have always been appreciative of the support and concern shown by Christina’s Dartmouth friends. “We very much appreciate the many expressions of concern for Christina and hopes for her recovery that we have received and continue to receive,” the Porters said in their initial statement released to the College in February.
The Porters are currently engaged in establishing the Christina Fund for Head Trauma. According to documents provided by Brent Porter, “the Christina Fund is created to foster research and development to address head trauma from skiing accidents and the treatment of a student skier with head trauma as a case study of progress which can be made in her recovery.”
The Porters hope that the Fund will directly help Christina, and that it will help other victims and prevent future injuries.
Natives of Brooklyn, N.Y., Brent and Mary have already approached Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., about the Christina Fund, providing her with a summary of the funds mission and encouraging her to include measures in her health program requiring helmets to be worn during sports like skiing and cycling.
“[Christina] had her left skull broken in 12 pieces,” Brent said. “If she had been wearing a helmet, it would not have happened.”
While the sequence of events leading up to Porter’s injury remain unspecified, it is clear that the student members of the Dartmouth Ski Patrol played an instrumental role in Porter’s rescue.
“The Ski Patrol and everyone are so wonderful at Dartmouth,” Brent said.
Patrollers immediately made preparations to have Porter airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, sources said. They then skied her down the mountain and acquired a car to drive her to the waiting helicopter.
Porter arrived at DHMC less than 20 minutes after the patrollers arrived at the site of the injury, according to sources.
Brent and Mary Porter have been in constant communication with President James Wright and Dean of the College James Larimore. Brent will be on Campus this weekend to discuss the Christina Fund with Christina’s close friends.