SOUTH OGDEN -- A South Ogden family is imploring skiers and snowboarders to exercise caution after a devastating collision with a snowboarder left a mother of five with two broken vertebrae, four broken ribs and a lacerated liver.
Monique Benard was helping her 14-year-old daughter Brilynn with her skies during a run at Snowbasin ski resort Friday afternoon when a snowboarder collided with her at full speed. The impact propelled Benard 10 yards and left her with internal bleeding as well as severe trauma to her rib cage and back. Benard was taken by ambulance to McKay-Dee Hospital, where she is expected to stay for one to two weeks.
Benard said she knew instantly that her injuries were severe but tried to stay calm for her daughter.
"I could tell something was wrong. It felt like something was punctured," she said. "I remember (Brilynn) screaming and feeling like I needed to keep conscious for her. I kept taking really short breaths."
Two skiers stayed with Benard as she waited for first responders to arrive on scene, while her husband Bryan rushed to the hospital from his job in Salt Lake City.
"The first call I received was from my 14-year-old daughter. I think she was in shock," he said. "I really just got in the car and started driving toward the hospital. It was difficult because I wasn't able to talk to my wife."
Benard expects to fully recovery, but had two permanent rib plates installed. An English teacher at T.H. Bell Junior High School in Washington Terrace, Benard is known by family and friends for her love of staying physically active. She has competed in several half marathons.
"Telling a person who is usually going 24/7 that they're being laid up for a while is going to be a real change," said Bryan Benard, adding that the accident, which took place on an intermediate ski run, was needless. "We don't want this to happen to any other families, for them to go through this during the holidays. It just (takes) skiing within the rules, looking out for others on the mountain and keeping your speed under control."
Monique wants to warn other snowboarders and skiers to not be reckless.
"Be careful on the hill. Be aware these accidents do happen," she said. "When you're going off a jump, you need a spotter (to make sure nobody is there)."
Monique, who also serves as an advisor on the South Ogden youth city council, said her goal is to be out of the hospital by the end of the week. In the meantime, her condition is too fragile for many personal visits, but she said she appreciates the outpouring of concern.
"I've had a lot of friends, neighbors and church members supporting me," she said. "It's always nice to get well-wishers sending over something on Facebook or a text. It brings a little bit of happiness."
Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.