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US skier Tommy Ford continues to recover from an accident at his home in Bend Sports | Instant News


Tommy Ford doesn’t remember the terrible accident that ended the World Cup ski season on January 9.

He remembers waking up in a Bern hospital, Switzerland, and studying injuries to his head, right knee and left wrist.

“I don’t remember the accident at all or the next hour,” Ford said in an interview with The Bulletin last week. “I don’t remember the helicopter ride I looked like going through.”

Ford, who can get around on crutches but can’t stand for long, has been returning home in Bend over the past few weeks, getting help and support from his parents and older brother.

“You learn what support systems are, or become more aware of them, when you are less capable,” Ford said.

31-year-old Ford – a two-time Olympic athlete born and raised in Bend – is in the middle of the 2020-21 season banner, posting four World Cup top 10 results in the giant slalom, including taking the podium in Santa Caterina, Italy.

He has qualified for the world alpine skiing championships, currently being performed in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

One of the top-ranked riders at the World Cup giant slalom race in Adelboden, Switzerland, Ford crashed three gates from the finish line after spreading into rough snow beside the track, according to the Associated Press.

His skin touched and he fell forward, sliding first down the hill on his neck and left shoulder.

Ford hit a worker on the side of the track before stopping by the safety net beside the finish.

He initially lay still with his face facing the snow despite immediately regaining his senses and talking to the medical staff, whom he doesn’t remember.

A helicopter lands in the field 20 minutes later to transport Ford to Bern.

Ford’s long-time girlfriend Laurenne Ross, also a World Cup skier and two-time Olympian from Bend, is watching Ford’s race on television as she prepares to race her first World Cup in two years after overcoming multiple knee injuries.

“It totally baffles me,” Ross wrote in an email last week from Cortina d’Ampezzo, where she finished 26th on Saturday in a world championship decline. “Obviously I am very concerned about his head injury, because obviously he is passed out. I’m usually pretty comfortable watching Tommy ski – he’s a solid, smooth skier – but he’s definitely over the top, and pushes the skis… and sometimes you crash when you’re skiing over the edge. Needless to say, I am very sad for him. “

After several days in Bern following the accident, Ford traveled to Vail, Colorado, where doctors at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute repaired torn ligaments in his knee and wrist. He is scheduled to return to Vail later this month for additional surgery on his knee. Ford said he tore two ligaments in his right knee and also fractured a plateau and tibial meniscus.

He also continues to recover from the concussion he suffered.

“I don’t have a headache or anything, but I have limited capacity for stimulation,” he said.

Ford said he was happy to be at his parents’ home in Bend, where he was getting plenty of sleep and rest, and was “starting to recover.” He wears a detachable splint on his left wrist and his right knee is in a brace, which he can remove as often as possible.

He added that it was too early to discuss a time frame for a possible return to ski racing or to bid for his third US Olympic Team. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are only one year away.

“There is no time frame that is overly detailed at the moment because I will have to have another operation,” Ford said. “I have to bear more weight in March. That’s all I really know. It’s still very early days. I haven’t gotten too far with the emotional side of things and all of that. “

Although Ross continues to race in Europe and Ford has returned home to Bend, the two are able to discuss Ford’s injury and his approach to rehabilitation. Ross, 32, has had 10 surgeries during his skiing career, three of which were major knee operations.

“Unfortunately Laurenne has a lot of experience with knee injuries, and she’s been very helpful with some advice,” said Ford. “I just don’t want to burden him because he also tries to perform at a high level and you don’t want to talk about injuries all the time. But he’s very helpful. He’s really entertaining. “

Ross said he was sure Ford would take the time and get back into the snow when he was “really ready.”

“Hopefully it will be race time next season, but we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Ross. “I’m here for him, every step of the way, whatever it is. I do have the insights I have shared, but everyone is very different when it comes to healing and processing. So I just try to support Tommy in whatever way he needs me to be there, in whatever way he wants to approach his recovery. It’s been the ride, and although I can offer advice, I know we are very different people, very different skiers, and often have different perspectives on injury and recovery. “

Ross added that the most important thing on which Ford is currently focused is “rest, recovery and reflection”.

“It’s important to consider if you want to get another injury (like the one he’s recovering from now), because that’s always the chance you take when you push out the starting gate in a ski race,” said Ross. “But first, he needs to focus on healing.”

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The rock engraving highlights Australia’s top-secret World War II mustard gas program | Instant News


In 1943, a young man carved his name, date, and place of birth, on a rock outside the Glenbrook Railway Tunnel, on the eastern side of the Blue Mountains.

Nearly 80 years later, that small act highlighted his extraordinary involvement in the highly classified storage of deadly mustard gas in Australia during World War II – despite a ban on its use after World War I.

The road to discovery began last year after the Glenbrook District Historical Society submitted a photo of the engraving to the Manning Wallamba Family History Society on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

This engraved stone sits at the entrance to the old Glenbrook Railway Tunnel with the inscription, 8/43, LAC RA Bryan, Taree, NSW.(Provided: Neil McGlashan)

This sparked the interest of local researcher Janine Roberts.

Ms Roberts began investigating who “RA Bryan” was and why she had her name engraved on that location.

“It’s these little little clues that give clues about what happened in the past,” he said.

He applied to the Australian National Archives for RA Bryan service records.

“It confirmed to me that he was in the RAAF, but the story that unfolded below, I was just blown away and shocked,” said Roberts.

‘Mustard gas man’

Ms Roberts discovered that Ross Ashley Bryan was born in Taree in 1924 and registered with the RAAF in 1943.

“I thought he might be dreaming of becoming a pilot, but he was actually training as a protector at RAAF Glenbrook base and stationed in the Glenbrook Tunnel,” he said.

Ms Roberts discovered the unused Glenbrook Railway Tunnel was one of 14 mass storage facilities in Australia that was used covertly to store toxic phosgene and mustard gas during World War II.

He said mustard gas was used in World War I with devastating effects and many countries, including Australia, became signatories to the 1925 Geneva Protocol which prohibits the use of chemical warfare.

“When I researched the story, I read that there was a growing threat from Japan [in World War II], especially after the fall of Singapore… and it is suspected that chemical warfare was used against China, ”said Roberts.

“They’re stored in 14 different locations across the country, and this is where Ross Ashley Bryan’s story comes in.”

The entrance to a large underground tunnel, surrounded by stone walls, with storage drums in the foreground.
The eastern entrance of the Glenbrook Tunnel in 1943 with a bulk storage drum filled with mustard gas.(Provided: Geoff Plunkett)

Ms Roberts said Mr Bryan was part of the RAAF’s specialist chemical warfare protection unit set up to handle chemical weapons supplies.

“In the following years those people were called mustard gasmen, and they handled, transported and ended up destroying the chemical weapons,” he said.

He said the men did very hazardous work without suitable protective equipment, leading to gas burns and exposure to carcinogens.

Ms Roberts said part of Mr Ross’s work on the Glenbrook tunnel would be releasing mustard gas which would build up under pressure in the drums stored in this old railway tunnel.

“That would release lethal gas into the air, and then they repainted the drums and made sure all the seals were properly sealed so they could see if there was a gas leak,” he said.

Side view of naked man from hip up with burns to the torso.
A male volunteer demonstrates mustard gas burns that occurred during the Australian Chemical Warfare Field experiments and Experiments Section.(Provided: Australian War Memorial)

“He also went to north Queensland where they tested humans using mustard gas, and he was there, in Innisfail, where they were doing the test nearby.

“It’s really awful what these people go through.”

Roberts said the men suffered health complications in the following years through their exposure, including respiratory problems such as emphysema, a rash that never went away, neurological conditions and cancer.

“These people are exposed to phosgene and mustard gas every day,” he said.

“While these immediate wounds appear to be healing, the people don’t know how badly it has affected them, and no one there told them.”

‘It’s almost like these people don’t exist’

Ms Roberts said the men were not allowed to talk about their roles.

“Because many of them have signed the documents bound in the Crime Law being kept secret for 50 years, they don’t discuss it with their family, friends or anyone else,” he said.

“So it is this terrible secret they have been holding on to for more than 50 years. It was only in the 1990s that knowledge of the operation began to become public.

Black and white photo of dozens of barrels on top of a dilapidated wooden building beside the beach.
The Japanese island of Okunoshima had a poison gas factory during World War II.(Provided: Australian War Memorial)

Ms Roberts said Mr Bryan married in Coopernook after the war and died in 2005, without receiving any acknowledgment of his role.

“In 2009 there was a plaque laying ceremony to acknowledge the dangerous work these people were doing [at Glenbrook] and the sacrifices they make for our country, “he said.

‘We need to understand our own history’

Historian and researcher, Geoff Plunkett, has written numerous books on chemical warfare in Australia and interviewed several mustard gas man.

He said several of the men interviewed said they had signed a confidentiality act.

“Most of them were around 18 years old in 1943, they were old people, so a lot of them didn’t talk about it until I came along as official historians,” said Plunkett.

Mr Plunkett said it was important for Australians to be aware of their country’s involvement with chemical weapons.

Handwritten diary notes page.
The diary of a World War II sergeant refers to loading and unloading gasoline at Berry Springs, in the Northern Territory.(Provided: Geoff Clarke)

“These people were criticized because they never left Australia, but most of them wanted to become air gunners in the air force – they were forced to do this.

“In fact, the first thing they know is when they show up in the unit.”

He said they couldn’t come out if it was because they became an important unit that was very specialized.

“But it was a consequence after the war because they were not entitled to multiple pensions because they did not serve abroad,” said Plunkett.

“We have at least one million chemical weapons in Australia, which is not necessarily a small number, but there are still a lot of people who don’t realize that … we certainly need to understand our own history.”

A surprise find for the family

Ms Roberts wrote about Ross Bryan’s story for a local heritage website, MidCoast Stories, which she co-founded.

A woman with black hair sits at a desk at a computer smiling, at headquarters.
Janine Roberts says the people kept their “terrible secrets” for 50 years.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

It was through this story that Mr Bryan’s nephew, David Kedwell of Old Bar, NSW, first learned of his uncle’s wartime role.

“It was never mentioned to me by my immediate family … that’s something that really surprised me,” he said.

“Isn’t that a wonderful thing, [it can come] from the little act of carving your name into stone, “says Kedwell.

“And the fact he’s carved Taree, NSW into stone – he’ll probably never be found [without that]. “

Ms Roberts said it was very satisfying that little hints from the past have allowed a man’s life and sacrifice to be remembered.

“It gives me the satisfaction of looking at a photo – and to me I don’t think it will be much – and then it ends up being this incredible story,” he said.

Chemical storage drums lined up outside the underground tunnels.
Drums were cleaned under tarp in mid-1943 in the Glenbrook Tunnel by a chemical warfare gun maker.(Provided: Geoff Plunkett)

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