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Alta athlete recovers after 60-foot fall; rejoins basketball team

By Andrew Adams | Posted - Feb 15th, 2013 @ 6:10pm


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SANDY — After falling 60 feet off a cliff, an Alta High School basketball player has recovered and is back on the court doing what he loves.

Just months ago, Elijah Glissmeyer fell 60 feet from a cliff at Lake Powell. He had three fractures in his hips, a broken tailbone, a compound fracture in his elbow, a partially-collapsed lung, a cracked skull and a broken nose.

"I thought I was going to die like that," Glissmeyer said. "That was it for me."

He had been hiking with his friends on Oct. 19 when Glissmeyer said he suggested they take a short cut back to a house boat.

Glissmeyer, sidling along a slippery rock face, lost his footing.

"I slid for what felt like forever," he recalled. "And then I free-fell 60 feet."

He said he could feel his feet, but it was only the start of a long ordeal that included weeks in the hospital.

"I didn't think he was going to be the same son anymore, let alone have any kind of physical capability to play sports," father Devan Glissmeyer said. "His recovery has been an absolute miracle."

Out of the hospital and now hoping to regain the athletic prowess he once possessed, the 6'6" junior center supported his team from the bench most of the season.


I never want to go through that again, but I'm glad where I am now and what it's done to me. I think more about life.

–Elijah Glissmeyer


Friday, though, Glissmeyer had his medical clearance and coach Jim Barker subbed him into the game against Jordan High School.

"If you asked me this four months ago when I fell, I never would have thought, 'Yeah, I'll be back playing,' " Glissmeyer said.

Perhaps no coincidence, his eight points ended up being the margin of victory for Alta in the 67-59 result.

"I was frustrated I fouled out," Glissmeyer said. "I wished I could play more. But I'm just happy I'm able to play."

His appearance in the game drew raucous cheering.

"I was just excited to see the reaction of the student section, the fans — and it really got loud when he scored his first bucket," Barker smiled.

Glissmeyer was hoping to improve in his second performance Friday night at West Jordan.

Barker said now that Glissmeyer is back to a relatively normal life as a high school athlete, he has started to yell at him a little more. He said he knows he has the potential to be a significant contributor and a good player once again.

"I never want to go through that again, but I'm glad where I am now and what it's done to me," Glissmeyer said. "I think more about life."

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