Teen injured in Raging Buffalo work accident improving

A fundraiser is planned Sunday at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park near Algonquin for the 17-year-old employee who was injured when his arm got caught in the roller brush that cleans snow from a ski conveyor lift.

The ski park, located at 19N475 Route 31 on forest preserve property in unincorporated Kane County, reopened Tuesday after last weekend's accident in which the teen's arm was severely crushed but not severed, according to authorities.

According to a post on the Raging Buffalo Facebook page, the injured teen, P.J. O'Donnell, a Jacobs High School student, is out of the intensive care unit at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and recovering after multiple surgeries.

"He is still not allowed any visitors but was up trying to text and trying to make the nurses laugh," according to the Facebook post.

O'Donnell's co-workers at Raging Buffalo have raised $3,280 toward a goal of $10,000 through an online campaign at for the teen and his family to help with his medical bills, a Raging Buffalo spokeswoman said Friday.

During Sunday's fundraiser, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., co-workers will be selling red ribbons and everyone will be wearing red in honor of O'Donnell because it's his favorite color, a Raging Buffalo spokeswoman said.

Proceeds from food sales and any money raised that day will go to the teen's family. The facility also is collecting cards for O'Donnell. Co-workers will be signing a snowboard Sunday that they will deliver to O'Donnell at the hospital, the spokeswoman said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it is investigating the accident to ensure there was proper machine guarding, training and operating procedures to prevent such an incident. That investigation could take up to six months to complete.

According to the statement from the company, Raging Buffalo has completed and passed three independent safety inspections this season and each of its past 22 seasons "with an excellent record of safety and accident prevention."

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