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As more people turn to extreme sports, Colorado doctors are rethinking how they treat athletes

Dan England The Colorado Sun
Steph Davis and Ian Mitchard BASE jump in Utah.
Steph Davis/Courtesy photo

Doctors took a look at Ian Mitchard’s body four years ago and assumed his career was over. 

That’s why Steph Davis brought him along to a talk she gave to doctors: She wanted them to see what was possible. 

To be fair, it’s probably the conclusion many would reach after Mitchard crashed while paragliding alone. He broke his back, ankles and a couple other bones. The worst damage was to his feet, which were crushed so badly that those doctors thought amputation was the only solution. 



The injuries were, of course, horrific, but the worst part of the ordeal was the doctors’ bleak outlook, Davis, Mitchard’s wife, said in a phone interview. 

Adventure athlete Steph Davis free-soloed the North Face of Castleton Tower in Castle Valley, Utah in May 2008.
Steph Davis/Courtesy photo

“They hadn’t seen injuries on that scale before,” Davis said. “He was getting excellent medical care, but we weren’t getting a lot of super optimistic stuff, and that’s hard to deal with.”



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