Ronnie Dotson of Winchester, Ohio is lucky to be alive, albeit that existence is spent partially in a hospital bed at home, on a wheelchair or with a walker. He’s  60 years old and life wasn’t always this way. But last November, just one day before Thanksgiving, Ronnie and his son David were anxious to get into a tree stand for some evening hunting before the sun went down.

According to a report by Tom Cross on the People’s Defender, at about 4:30 pm the two men went to their respective tree stands in an old woodlot near Ronnie’s home. Ronnie had a favorite tree stand 40 feet above the ground. He liked it because it offered him a clear shot to the ground below and he had been using it for years.

He climbed up and put his weight on the stand and the stand broke at the cables. Ronnie and his platform went crashing down 40 feet. Understandably, he doesn’t remember much after that.

The men were supposed to reconvene at their truck around 6 pm, but when Ronnie didn’t show up, David instantly knew something was wrong since he always returns just before dark. David returned to Ronnie’s tree stand to find him lying at the bottom of the tree. His bow was still tied to the rope, the platform was hanging down and Ronald was in serious pain after having laid on the ground for two hours after his fall.

Immediately, David called for help and Ronnie was air-lifted to the University of Cincinnati Trauma Center. The damage was bad. People’s Defender lists the damage done. “… He was found to have a fractured skull, crushed ear lobes, broken collar bone, a fractured sternum, 11 broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, crushed pelvis, cracked vertebrae, broken back, broken knee, broken ankle, punctured lung from broken ribs, and later as a result of the fall, developed pneumonia and a lung infection.”

Ronnie has spent four weeks in an intensive care unit, three more weeks at the Drake Rehabilitation Center and is now finally recuperating at his home. Ronnie still relies on a wheelchair and walker to get around. There are still many months of rehabilitation ahead and it is unsure whether he will work again. His brother George and family have been gathering donations from outdoor sports shops, outfitters and other companies to sustain medical and related expenses for a benefit hog roast, auction and raffle at the Wayne Township Community Building in Cherry Fork, Ohio this Saturday. For more information or to donate, contact George Dotson at (937) 695-0278.

Photo: Erik Przekop (visualthinker, flickr)

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