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Utah teacher hospitalized after breaking back on vacation

By Morgan Wolfe, KSL TV | Posted - Oct. 20, 2020 at 11:47 a.m.

ALPINE — An Alpine School District teacher has suffered a severe back injury while on vacation with her family and won't be able to continue teaching temporarily.

It was a short trip to the beach that was supposed to free the family from the reality of COVID-19. Now, the 36-year-old mother of four is waiting to find out if she will ever walk again.

"I was really upset. I was really worried and figuring out how I could get to her as soon as possible, but with COVID, no one can get into the hospital," said Kristin Schalk, the teacher's sister.

Schalk said she's praying for her sister to get back to Utah safely after a wave took her out, shattering one of the vertebrae in her back.

"She remembers the snap," she said. "She remembers feeling it and feeling nothing from the waist down, so she had to get pulled out of the water."

Chelsie Gustafson already had one surgery and is waiting on a prognosis.

She still hasn't recovered feeling below her hips, and isn't sure if she ever will.

"She is more focused on getting better right now," said Schalk.

Chelsie's husband is also a full-time teacher in Alpine.

Family members said they are prepared to help with the couple's four children, but they are asking for help to get Chelsie to one of the top spinal care specialists.

A GoFundMe page* has been created to help with the expenses.

* does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

Morgan Wolfe


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