Retired Police Officer Suffers Brain Damage From Bear Attack

Most people do not think of getting permanent brain damage in a bear attack, but that is just what happened to Jerry Ruth.

Ruth decided to go on a walk outside his home in Wyoming with a friend in July of 2009. His wife had seen a group of elk the day before in the sagebrush a few miles from their home, and he and his friend went looking for them.

As Ruth walked by a bush, he saw a flash of fir and teeth. The bear, a mother of two cubs, grabbed him by the head and shook him, then dropped him on the ground where he passed out. He awoke a few seconds later as his friend Shane ran up to aid him. Ruth, a retired police officer, pulled out his pistol and shot the bear.

“I think she would have finished me off and probably killed Shane, too,” Ruth said.

The bear had ripped off Ruth’s jaw, breaking it in six places. She also pulled out his tongue, broke a rib, punctured a lung and caused permanent nerve damage to his leg.

Most of Ruth’s injuries have healed. He cannot feel parts of his face, and suffers from memory loss due to brain damage. He still hikes, fishes, and explores the woods, likening his accident to a car accident.

“After a car accident, do you get back in the car and drive?” he said. “Yeah, you do. It’s the same thing.”

Metier Law Firm – Denver injury attorneys