Extreme athlete presents girlfriend with back-breaking proposal
Published: February 15, 2014 09:41PM
Updated: February 15, 2014 02:17PM
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Colton Brockbank sits with his fiancée Taylor Naho’olewa after proposing to her at Alta View Hospital in Sandy. Brockbank, an extreme sports athlete, faked a broken back to get Naho'olewa to the hospital before proposing. Courtesy: Jennifer Barrett

There are the classics: A ring in a champagne glass or a long walk on a beach followed by popping the question. There are eye-rollers, like proposing on the Jumbotron at a sporting event.

Then there’s Colton Brockbank, who took proposing to another level, pretending he had broken his back and popping the question Friday to a shocked — and surprisingly not angry — girlfriend at Alta View Hospital.

Brockbank, an extreme sport athlete, said his new fiancée Taylor Naho’olewa, is notoriously hard to surprise. So, he came up with a plan, telling her he was shooting a snowboarding commercial in Park City Friday morning. He would feign breaking his back during the shoot — something he’s already done twice for real, along with suffering multiple concussions and several surgeries — and when she took the bait, he’d pop the question.

He dressed up in a hospital gown and a neck brace, and even used an oxygen mask to sell the act. He had arranged the proposal ahead of time with his mother’s friend, an emergency nurse at the hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Barrett.

“We had a room that was sort of set aside. We were happy to do it, it was fun,” Barrett said.

Brockbank’s little brother called Naho’olewa to tell her Brockbank had “broken his back” and she rushed to the hospital with her family, who were in town from Texas. In the interim, Brockbank began to worry she wouldn’t find his surprise clever or funny because his best friend broke his back in 2007 and is paralyzed from the waist down.

“Things were going great and I was like, ‘Man, I would really hate to just screw things up between us,’ ” Brockbank said.

Brockbank said Naho’olewa was surprisingly calm when she said him and said “they’d make it work,” even if he was seriously injured. “She actually handled it really well, in all honesty,” he said.

He gave her flowers to soften the news and when she turned her back, he leapt out of the hospital bed to ask the big question.

And she said “yes” to an extreme proposal from this extreme snowboarder and wakeboarder.

Brockbank said she asked for “more jokes like this” in the future. He said after seeing how she handled this situation, he knows that whatever challenges they face in married life, she’ll be “chill.”

“Man, I’m so crazy in love with this girl. She’s so supportive,” Brockbank said. “Honestly, it just showed that she’s going to be able to handle anything.”

bsmith@sltrib.com

Twitter: @brennanjsmith