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Fort Macleod man recovering from broken back


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Colton Ribling’s friends are supporting him throughout his recovery.

colton ribling

Colton Ribling has been in good spirits since the accident.

Determination and a positive attitude can go a long way, as it has for Fort Macleod resident Colton Ribling, who is recovering from a snowboarding accident on Dec. 26 at Castle Mountain.
Ribling suffered a broken back in a fall suffered after he got separated from his friends on the mountain.
“It was just a normal day boarding at Castle and then we got split up from Colton and we didn’t see him again until he was in the ski patrol shack,” friend Gordon Van Driesten said. “At first it didn’t even seem real once they told us he broke his back. We were all just kind of stunned for the first day or two.”
Van Driesten, who has been friends with Ribling since 2011, has been to visit Colton in Calgary hospital and his friend is in good spirits.
“I’d just like to say how strong he is and how positive he’s staying,” Van Driesten said. “Makes me proud to be his friend for how tough he’s being about the whole situation. It’s going to be a long journey to recovery but I know he can do it. His family and friends will be there every step of the way.”
Annet Ribling, Colton’s mother, and Colton’s father were shopping on Boxing Day when they received a call from a nurse at the Pincher Creek Hospital’s emergency room.
The nurse told them Colton was being transported to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary via STARS helicopter, so the Riblings went to Calgary.
Colton had surgery on Dec. 27 to fuse vertebrates T10 to L2, as he suffered spinal injuries in the accident.
“The surgery was successful in that the surgeon did not find any bleeding around the spinal cord only bruising and they were able to minimize the compression on the spinal cord somewhat,” Annet Ribling said.
It is still largely unknown how Colton’s recovery will progress, but the Ribling family is ever optimistic.
Annet Ribling started a GoFundMe page on-line with a goal of raising $10,000 for expenses and for adapting the house so Colton could eventually return home.
“I started the GoFundMe page to raise funds for the many costs I anticipated Colton will have in the coming year,” Annet Ribling said. “He does not have any EI, CPP, disability insurance through us or through his work as he had just started a new job at Home Depot a week before. We survive on my husband’s income since I lost my nursing job in 2013.”
Thus far, $3,205 has been raised and the Ribling family is grateful for every contribution and show of compassion.
“I set the original funding goal at $10,000 to cover immediate travel costs, incidentals for Colton in the hospital, as well as home modifications that will need to be in place before Colton can come home,” Annet Ribling said.
Colton is a lacrosse player and has played for the Lethbridge Barracudas and Okotoks Ice. Annet Ribling said that Colton was being scouted by St. Andrew’s University in North Carolina.
“Colton had hoped to attend school this fall,” Annet Ribling said.
According to Annet Ribling, the community has shown tremendous support to the Ribling family during this time through individual donations.
Colton’s lacrosse coaches are organizing a fund-raiser and the Ribling family has had multiple offers for places to stay while in Calgary to be with Colton.
There was also a donation from the Fort Macleod Polar Bear Club, a local group who got together for a cold dip on New Year’s Day and fund-raise for a cause. The club donated to Colton because many of them are parents of his friends.
“We are all coping well, my nursing background helps, I know what to expect, what to ask and how to help,” Annet Ribling said. “My family has been around Colton from day one and everyone is grateful and positive.”
To contribute to Colton’s recovery fund, visit Colton’s Journey at

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