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Kevin Graves, right, of Bemidji, is at Hennepin County Medical Center recovering from injuries he suffered in a traffic accident in early January. His wife, Monica, left, is staying in St. Paul to be with him during his recovering and rehabilitation. Their 2-year-old son, Mason, also pictured, visits them every weekend as he has stayed in Bemidji with family since the accident. Submitted Photo

Man who struck wayward horse improving afer accident

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

His ventilator has periodically been disconnected, allowing Kevin Graves to breathe on his own recently.

"That's a sign of hope for me," said C.J. White of Bemidji, who has been Graves' friend since the first or second grade when they met at Central Elementary School.

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Graves, 31, was severely injured in a Jan. 5 car accident when his vehicle struck a wayward horse on Irvine Avenue North. His neck was broken in two places, and he was flown from the scene to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Since the accident, Graves has made improvements and also suffered a few setbacks.

He quickly underwent surgery as doctors worked to repair the breaks and inserted metal plates in his neck.

But following the surgery, Graves caught a staph blood infection.

While he since has beaten the infection, he still is battling the residual fever.

"He's making progress," White said, "but when he makes a little progress, two more things take him back."

Monica, Graves' wife, said he is planned to be transferred to Bethesda Hospital, a rehabilitation facility in St. Paul, once the fever is gone.

"That's what's keeping him here (in Minneapolis)," she said.

Graves no longer is sedated, but does take pain medication. He has responded well to his tracheotomy also.

And, he wants to talk to his family.

"He tries to talk, but can't with the (tracheotomy)," Monica said.

Monica and Graves' mother, Helma, are staying in St. Paul near the hospital.

Two-year-old Mason, the Graves' son, comes to visit every weekend.

White said he spent the first week in St. Paul and has visited Graves three more times since. He is planning another visit next weekend.

"He's my best friend, my brother," White said. "We're like family."

The day before the accident, White said, Graves was helping him snowplow his driveway.

He heard about the accident when one of Graves' siblings called him.

"He's very stubborn," White said, noting several arguments they have had over the years. "It's always me who has to fold at the end."

White said Graves' attitude will help him face his new challenges.

"He's very strong-willed; he has a strong personality," White said.

"That's a sign of hope for me," said C.J. White of Bemidji, who has been Graves' friend since the first or second grade when they met at Central Elementary School.

Graves, 31, was severely injured in a Jan. 5 car accident when his vehicle struck a wayward horse on Irvine Avenue North. His neck was broken in two places, and he was flown from the scene to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Since the accident, Graves has made improvements and also suffered a few setbacks.

He quickly underwent surgery as doctors worked to repair the breaks and inserted metal plates in his neck.

But following the surgery, Graves caught a staph blood infection.

While he since has beaten the infection, he still is battling the residual fever.

"He's making progress," White said, "but when he makes a little progress, two more things take him back."

Monica, Graves' wife, said he is planned to be transferred to Bethesda Hospital, a rehabilitation facility in St. Paul, once the fever is gone.

"That's what's keeping him here (in Minneapolis)," she said.

Graves no longer is sedated, but does take pain medication. He has responded well to his tracheotomy also.

And, he wants to talk to his family.

"He tries to talk, but can't with the (tracheotomy)," Monica said.

Monica and Graves' mother, Helma, are staying in St. Paul near the hospital.

Two-year-old Mason, the Graves' son, comes to visit every weekend.

White said he spent the first week in St. Paul and has visited Graves three more times since. He is planning another visit next weekend.

"He's my best friend, my brother," White said. "We're like family."

The day before the accident, White said, Graves was helping him snowplow his driveway.

He heard about the accident when one of Graves' siblings called him.

"He's very stubborn," White said, noting several arguments they have had over the years. "It's always me who has to fold at the end."

White said Graves' attitude will help him face his new challenges.

"He's very strong-willed; he has a strong personality," White said.

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