Samantha Collins, 15, on Feb. 27, 1999 — the day of her skiing accident at Sunday River in Newry.

It was just another day on the slopes for 15-year-old Samantha Collins, who was skiing at Sunday River on Feb. 27, 1999.

The day would become life-changing in a matter of seconds for the high school sophomore from Massachusetts.

Collins, now Samantha Bono, was skiing alone because she was testing the trail to see if one of her friends would be able to ski it, but she skidded off the trail and struck a tree. She was immediately knocked unconscious with a serious head injury.

According to Bono, two skiers came to her rescue. They happened to be a doctor and a nurse, which is all she knows about the two people who helped save her life.

She was taken by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where she spent the next 2 1/2 weeks. She does not remember any of her time at CMMC.

Bono spent a day in a coma and her first memories were nearly three weeks after the accident. She was moved from CMMC to Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Massachusetts.


Bono spent 2 1/2 months in the hospital or at a rehabilitation center. She had a collapsed lung and moderate-severe brain damage. She underwent brain surgery.

Aside from fracturing her skull, no other bones were broken.

Bono said she missed a full year of school while recovering.

Today, Bono still has occasional issues retaining newly learned information, and will sometimes forget having met or had conversations with certain people.

And while she has not returned to Sunday River since the accident, she has gone skiing.

Bono works as a legal analyst in Northern Virginia. She said a benefit of living in the Washington area is her ability to participate in National Institutes of Health studies on traumatic brain injury.

Bono said she was never able to learn the identities of the skiers who helped her that day and, therefore, has been unable to thank them. She said she hopes to connect with the doctor and nurse so she can share her appreciation with them and with everyone who treated her 20 years ago.

Anyone with information related to the accident can contact Bono at (781) 710-5341.

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