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UK doctor Ralph Miller recovering

A University of Kentucky physician who was seriously injured in a hang-gliding accident in Mexico is doing better, and family members are now cautiously optimistic about his recovery, family friends say.

Dr. Ralph Miller, husband of former Mayor Pam Miller, was injured in a hang-gliding accident near Valle de Bravo, south of Mexico City, last week.

According to a friend who was with him, Miller hit a tree upon landing. He broke several ribs, punctured a lung and hit his head hard enough to cause swelling in his brain, said Rodney Farrar of Littleton, Colo.

In an e-mail Tuesday, family members said that "Ralph is improving a little each day and that the doctors are amazed he's doing so well," said Louise Shouse, a member of the Lexington Opera Society board of directors. The directors have have been receiving regular updates on Ralph Miller's condition; Pam Miller is a member of the board.

Ralph Miller, 75, was in an intensive care unit at Hospital Angeles Lomas in Mexico City.

Miller is a faculty member in the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine at UK. A skier, he competed in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in the giant slalom, slalom and downhill events.

Miller was in Mexico on a weeklong hang-gliding trip with eight other pilots, said Farrar, who has been hang-gliding with Miller since the 1980s. The trip was with Fly Mexico, a company that organizes hang-gliding outings in Valle de Bravo.

Miller was injured Thursday while landing, Farrar said. Miller was about 1,000 feet over the landing zone when he began to circle down. It was a "perfectly normal, perfectly standard landing," Farrar said. Then it went wrong. "He just turned and flew into this tree and we just all watched in disbelief," Farrar said.

Pam Miller flew to Mexico City after the accident and has been joined there by her children.