Kandiyohi teen with head injury after skiing accident improving in Twin Cities hospital

A teenager from Kandiyohi is at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis with a traumatic brain injury following a ski accident near Alexandria Friday. He was awake and talking Wednesday, according to his father.


WILLMAR — A teenager from Kandiyohi is waking up and communicating with his family at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, where he’s been since a ski accident near Alexandria Feb. 25.

Malachi Elmhorst, 17, has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury since the accident.

Malachi Elmhorst.JPG
Malachi Elmhorst
Elmhorst family / Facebook

Malachi, a junior at Community Christian School of Willmar, had been in a drug-induced coma, and his caregivers began waking him up Tuesday.

“I would call it a miracle,” Malachi’s father Seth Elmhorst said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.


They know that Malachi has had bleeding and damage throughout his brain, he said, but his first day awake has been filled with accomplishments.

According to his dad, Malachi has been aware of his surroundings and able to carry on conversations. He’s been able to eat by himself and drink from a glass of water. He can stand up and walk in place, but he tires quickly from physical therapy at this point.

There could be other issues as his recovery continues, but the family is very happy with his progress so far, Seth Elmhorst said.

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Seth Elmhorst said he and his wife Rachel have large families who are helping them handle things at home with their other children. Malachi is the second-older of six children, two girls and four boys, ranging in age from 19 to 7.

The family has asked that friends and family send emails to with favorite memories of experiences they’ve had with Malachi or tell stories about the way he’s touched their lives. Photos or funny stories are on the list, too.

The messages will be shared with him during his recovery.

Elmhorst said others who would like to send messages of encouragement are welcome to write to Malachi, too, that it would help “to know there are people out there who care and are praying.”

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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