The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
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 vol. 41. iss. 1, March 2006
Gregg was transferred to Drake in Cincinnati where he began physical therapy to strengthen himself to embark upon a life of omnipresent challenge. 

At the time of the accident, Gregg was employed as a draftsman.  Among the good fortunes that can be gleaned from his extreme misfortune, it is a career in which Gregg’s present inability to walk will not hamper his productivity or livelihood.  Gregg’s employer, a subcontractor for a Proctor & Gamble research facility in Mason, Ohio, is holding his job for him until Gregg is ready to return.

Gregg’s prognosis is uncertain but hopeful.  After repeated operations, Gregg has only limited use of his right arm as it was necessary to pin his radius where ligaments were no longer attached.  It is believed that this reduction of mobility may be significantly improved by additional therapy and/or surgery.  Beyond the broken limbs, his impact resulted in multiple, instantaneous dislocations of his vertebrae that damaged his spinal chord without severing it.  The spinal column itself was not fractured.  There is hope that, with the current pace of medical advancement in reconstructive spinal surgery, a future operation utilizing developing technology could knit Gregg’s nerves so that he could walk again.  But for now, there are the immediate adjustments and demands to face.  And Gregg is tackling these with bravery and fortitude.

In recent days I have spoken with both Gregg’s parents, Bunny and Dick.  They have told me that Gregg is strong, vital and healthy.  They are fine, intelligent people who are optimistic, while retaining a realist’s reluctance to make quixotic predictions.  They, along with his wife Mary, his brother Mike and sister-in-law Ronda, have stood faithfully beside Gregg throughout the heart-rending rigors of his ascent back to a life that so many of us take for


granted.  Gregg has his two daughters, his family and friends, and the hard-earned wisdom of a death narrowly escaped to give him motivation for the future. 

In a conversation with paramedic Mike Summers, Gregg said he is glad to be alive, and sends us all his gratitude and best wishes.  Gregg is daily proving himself the fighter I saw lying there in the spitting rain, the courageous man whom I witnessed endure unspeakable pain with stoic acceptance through the long haul out of the cave, the consummate gentleman who made me feel welcome in his hospital room, despite his uncomfortable and compromising circumstances.  I know that all of us involved in his rescue wish him the very best. 

Mistakes were made, no question.  And bitter, lifelong lessons have been learned.  Let us all learn from Gregg’s experience; I’m sure he would want that.  Don’t use ropes or gear you find in a cave.  Caves digest things—invisibly.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve retrieved a bandanna or some article of clothing from the cave and thought, “Hey, cave booty!”—only to discover my serendipitous find has dissolved in the washing machine.  “Funny, it looked just fine when I picked it up...”

The manila rope that Gregg used had been in the cave no more than a few months.  (The following week, I cut down the remaining strange of rope from the bolt box—which has since been anonymously hacksawed down also.)  The rope was not lying the muck, rotting.  It was hanging high and dry...or so it looked at first glance.  But it was slathered in mud from previous climbers, and nothing in an environment that sports a 100% humidity stays dry for long. 

The rope was not what it appeared to be.  And had it

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