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Nursery owner in coma following tragic fall

The owner of an area nursery business is in a medically induced coma at Regions Hospital in St. Paul following a severe fall 10 days ago.

Mark Anderson, 49, operator of Anderson Plant Farms in the town of Martell, fell down basement stairs in his home Sunday, Sept. 16.

He suffered traumatic brain injury and a fractured skull, said his eldest daughter, Danielle Erickson, Tuesday morning.

"It's a very critical situation. The doctors say it's a very, very severe injury," said Danielle. She said the extent of the damage won't be known until her father wakes.

Danielle said her dad aspirated material into his lungs, and now his breathing is a major concern.

Anderson was sleepwalking at about 11 p.m. Sept. 16 when he opened the basement door and fell down 16 steps to a cement floor, said Danielle.

She said the sleepwalking is "a condition that worsened over the last couple of years."

Anderson's wife Lori and a daughter awakened a few seconds before he fell, heard the fall and rushed to him. They called 911.

Anderson was taken by Ellsworth ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital and then to Regions at about 12:30 a.m.

Surgery to control internal bleeding and repair the skull fracture began at about 2 a.m. Sept. 17 and lasted for 2 1/2 hours.

Lori is spending much of her time at her husband's side in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Regions.

This spring the Andersons, who have 10 children, celebrated 25 years in the nursery business. A few years ago they added retail sales, making Anderson Plant Farms a popular stop for local gardeners.

Because of her father's injuries, the nursery won't be open to the public next spring, said Danielle.

"We are going to be closed at the retail end of it for at least the coming season," she said. Her father was the main operator of the family-run greenhouses.

Danielle said the family is still trying to decide what to do with the nursery property, which might be used by another wholesale grower for a while.

Mike and Kristi O'Malley of Kilkarney Golf Course and Sittin' Valley Tree Farm are planning a Sunday, Oct. 14, golf outing and auction to benefit the Anderson family.

The O'Malleys are looking for sponsors for the golf event and for items to auction or raffle. For information about that, call 426-5363.

For updates on Anderson's condition, follow the attached link to the Caring Bridge Web site.