Family: Rehberg State Director Improving

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Dustin Frost’s family said Friday that the Montana director for U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg is progressing faster in his recovery from a brain injury than originally expected.

Frost was in a coma for about 10 days following a late-night Aug. 27 boat crash. He quickly began speaking, then walking and has been moved out of the Kalispell hospital and into a Missoula rehab clinic.

Rod Frost told reporters on a conference call that his son still faces a long recovery, and main issues at the moment are therapy for speech and cognitive abilities. He said Dustin can read but has memory and other problems like nerve damage on the side of his face.

“He jokes, he kids, he is able to complete sentences and thoughts. A lot of it is a memory issue,” Rod Frost said. “That is just something they will work on.”

Frost said his son has pretty good long-term memory but remembers almost nothing of the week preceding the accident.

Rehberg, who is on crutches following surgery for a broken ankle and has gone back to work in Washington D.C., has said he hopes Frost will eventually be able to return to his job. Frost’s family said the 27-year-old is focused on shorter-term recovery goals and that the full extent of his potential recovery will not be known for a while.

“The long-term recovery is just that: long term. That’s a question mark that just hangs out there,” Rod Frost said. “We have accepted that and worked to increase our patience just to see what happens.”

Frost said the family does not blame the boat driver, state Sen. Greg Barkus, and is not considering any lawsuits.

“I don’t have anger. I don’t think any of us have any anger. This was an accident, that is why we have that word in the dictionary,” Rod Frost said. “There is no anger or bad feelings here at all. They suffered with us.”

Barkus, who is recovering from severe injuries of his own.

Authorities investigating the crash have said they are awaiting an out-of-state lab tests on Barkus’ alcohol level as they weigh charges in the case. County attorney Ed Corrigan had no comment Friday.

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