Johnson Vows to Ski Again

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Portland, OR, May 25, 2001 -- Two months after a racing crash left him near death, former Olympic downhill champion Bill Johnson said Friday he planned to ski again.

Officials at Providence Portland Medical Center have stated that Johnson, 41, who was injured March 22 at Big Mountain, Mont., will be moving sometime next week to The Center for Neurological Skills in Bakersfield, Calif., for the next phase of his rehabilitation. No time has been set for the transfer, officials said.

"I want to ski," Johnson told those attending the press conference. "I will ski again."

His mother, DB, also attended the media gathering. He was expected to stay at the Bakersfield facility indefinitely as he works through the next stage of his recovery.

Johnson suffered a severe head injury in the crash and originally was treated and underwent life-saving surgery at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. While still in a coma, he was transferred April 11 to the Portland hospital. Since coming out of the coma, he has regained some of his speaking ability and walks with limited assistance; a rehab specialist is assigned to him fulltime.