Dean Unglert is lucky to be alive. On his blog and the podcast he cohosts, the Bachelor in Paradise alum detailed the skiing accident that left him severely injured last month — saying things could have gone much worse on that Swiss mountainside — and praised girlfriend Caelynn Miller-Keyes for rushing to his aid.
In a Tuesday, January 7, blog post, the 28-year-old explained that his plans to spend a week skiing in the Swiss Alps “quickly got derailed” on his first day in Zermatt when he “took a spill that put me in the hospital for the next five days and leaves me on the mend for roughly the next 12 months.”
He wrote that weather conditions on the day of his accident were “varying degrees of bad,” making it “hard to see all the obstacles” in his path. “Sure enough, while I was blowing down the mountain hooting and hollering, an obstacle came out of nowhere and placed itself right under my skis,” he said. “I skied hard into a rock that had hidden itself with a fresh dusting of snow. The second I hit the rock my left ski flew off and I immediately knew this wasn’t going to end well. My right ski, still attached to my foot, grabbed ahold of something while I was launched through the air and torqued my leg in a way it’s never been before. In the middle of my tumble I could hear and feel something bad happen to my right hip but I had no idea exactly what happened.”
As he lay on the ground, Unglert declined other skiers’ offer of assistance, underestimating his injuries. “It took all of about 20 minutes of me laying there to realize I actually needed help,” he explained. “At first I was determined to get out of there on my own. I thought I had the ability to do it but the longer I laid there the more the pain started to creep in.”
He managed to flag down another skier who called a friend who hailed ski patrolmen. One of the patrolmen applied pressure to Unglert’s right leg, and the reality star “screamed in agony.” Realizing they couldn’t immobilize the leg, the patrolmen called for a helicopter evacuation.
“The total time from ski patrol arriving to me being airlifted to a hospital was probably between 20-30 minutes,” Unglert recalled. “It’s that kind of efficiency that I’m incredibly grateful for and puts the Swiss Mountain Rescue in a league of their own. There’s no question that I owe them my life.”
Unglert was rushed into surgery to repair his broken femur and spent a week recuperating in the hospital. He was unable to fly to the next stops on his vacation, so he took trains to London.
“I fly back to Los Angeles in about a week to meet with an orthopedic surgeon and begin my physical therapy. I’m hoping to make a full recovery but have no idea what to expect. I’ve never had metal screws holding parts of my body together like this. … This whole experience is a strong reminder that I am not invincible. … I am capable of seriously hurting myself and causing permanent damage, or worse,” the former Bachelorette contestant said in the raw post.
The blog update comes one day after the Monday, January 6, episode of the “Help! I Suck at Dating with Dean, Jared & ….” podcast, on which Unglert said his leg is getting better every day. “I get my staples out tomorrow from the incision,” he revealed. “So it’s like a nice step in the right direction. It hurts a lot, but you know, they could have been a lot worse, I guess. So for that, I’m grateful.”
He also said that he isn’t allowed to walk on his leg for six weeks and might not be fully walking for six months. “But I don’t know,” he added. “I’m optimistic it’ll take less time. I’m also kind of like, it’s nice but maybe like slow down for a little bit and uh, find some new hobbies?”
Even so, Unglert is eager to get the metal screws and plates removed from his leg and head back to Switzerland. “In 10 months or so, hopefully I can get those removed and then recover for, like, another month and a half, two months and then fly back to Switzerland and do the exact same run that I crashed on to kind of, like, conquer the thing that I messed myself up on.”
And he praised the support of Miller-Keyes, 24, with whom he fell in love during Bachelor in Paradise season 6, for traveling to Switzerland to be by his side after the accident. “Caelynn flew out a couple of days after Christmas and met me in Switzerland and has kind of been with me every step of the way,” he said. “So she’s been super supportive and helpful, and obviously that … definitely helps me a lot in terms of, like, my mental state.”
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