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Family struggles through difficult year to establish new medical practice in Payson

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“You’ll be just fine,brI’m right behind you” Jesse Riley reassured his then 10-year-old daughter atbrthe top of a steep slope at Brighton Ski Resort.

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He watched tentativelybras she made her way slowly back and forth down the mountainside until she wasbrnear the bottom. Starting behind her he suddenly lost sight of her as she fell,brbut heard her scream.

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Hurrying to the bottombrhe found her lying on the ground with one ski off and one still attached. Shebrhad fallen and her binding had not released, resulting in a serious fracture ofbrher leg that left her in a cast from her hip to her toes for three months.

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This was the beginningbrof a very long year for the Riley family. In addition to this injury, thebrRiley’s would face challenges that would be difficult alone, let alone stackedbrin the same year. Renovating a home (doing the work themselves), struggling forbrsix months to sell that home in a waning market in Wyoming, uprooting andbrmoving the family and starting the kids at a new school in a new state,brstarting a new doctor’s office on their own from scratch, remodeling saidbroffice, totaling one of the family cars after a driver ran a red light, andbrultimately culminating in a fire in the newly renovated office.

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“Luckily the fire isbrthe one that we can actually laugh at, as there was no structural orbrsignificant damage done. At that point (December 2019) if the fire had lookedbrhopeless, I may have just locked the front door and let it burn!” Riley jokes.

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It would be hard tobrimagine all of these challenges in the same year, but the truth is that all ofbrthese challenges combined paled in comparison to the event that would dominatebr2019 for the Riley family, the year that would change their family forever.

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At approximately 11 inbrthe morning on April 20, the day before Easter Sunday, Caysie Riley receivedbrthe call that every parent dread and never thinks will happen to them. “Ibranswered the phone and it was one of Avery’s friends who simply said ‘Averybrfell and she’s really hurt.’”

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Caysie felt herbrstomach drop but still hoped for the best. After being told that somebody wouldbrcall her right back with more details her phone rang again.

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“I watched as shebrlistened to the person on the other line when she suddenly looked like the lifebrhad gone right out of her. She managed to stammer the words ‘life flight’ atbrwhich point I grabbed the phone from her. I always thought that in thosebremergency situations the doctor brain inside me would be automatic and takebrover. I was 100 percent dad in that moment.”

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Their daughter had beenbrrappelling with friends that morning in the Heber area as part of their prombrdate. She had suffered a fall of approximately 25 feet, hitting her head twicebras she fell and miraculously being caught by her friend at the bottom withoutbrdropping her.

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“I’m convinced a thirdbrhit would have definitely killed her,” Jesse Riley said. She did in fact diebrand was resuscitated on the life flight to the hospital. Their 18 year oldbrdaughter was in a coma for 12 days and the Riley’s were told that there was abr90 percent chance she would not wake up from the coma, based on her MRIbrresults, and that, if she were one of the 10 percent that did wake up, shebrwould likely be in a permanent vegetative state. They were told she would neverbrwalk again.

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Two months later, onbrher own strength, their daughter did walk out of the hospital. She has made abrmiraculous recovery that, while incredibly difficult, is defying all of thebrdoctor’s expectations.

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“So, in considerationbrof the rest of 2019, opening a new practice from the ground up has been thebreasy part,” Jesse Riley said.

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Dr. Jesse Riley andbrhis wife are both originally from Payson and Riley credits the long, hard hoursbrworking on the family fruit farm as giving him what it took to make it throughbrschool and his surgical residency. The family were thrilled at the prospect ofbrcoming back to their home community and decided to take the leap and strike outbron their own.

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Dr. Riley is abrPodiatrist, specializing in both surgical and non-surgical treatments of thebrfoot and ankle. “Everything from an ingrown toenail to a total ankle jointbrreplacement!” Riley said.

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Dr. Riley graduatedbrfrom the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine with honors afterbrfour years, which included training at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, andbrcompleted a three year surgical residency in Indiana, with not only forefootbrsurgical training, but rearfoot, ankle and reconstructive training as well.

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Prior to moving tobrPayson Dr. Riley was part of a podiatry group based out of Salt Lake City andbrwhile there he was ranked the number one Podiatrist in the Salt Lake City areabrby RateMDs.

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He was then employedbrat Evanston Regional Hospital in Evanston, Wyo., where he also served as thebrchief of surgery for the hospital.

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Dr. Riley’s newbroffice, Summit Foot and Ankle, is located in Payson on Utah Avenue, directlybracross from the City Offices at 41 North 400 West. They are accepting newbrpatients and can be reached at (801) 218-3338 or on Instagram @drjesseriley andbrFacebook, Dr. Jesse Riley. The story of their daughters harrowing journey canbrbe found on Instagram @forthestrengthofavery.(Serve Daily submission.)

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