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Teen returns to site of accident that left her with brain, spine injuries

We've written before in this space about the teenager who sustained severe injuries in a fall at a Wisconsin amusement park. There's been a very positive update to her story: The 14-year-old recently appeared at a news conference to promote an expansion at the Madison children's hospital many credit with saving her life.

After the Florida teen fell 100 feet from a Wisconsin Dells amusement park ride, she sustained spine and brain injuries that left her parents and doctors wondering whether she could survive.

Not only has she survived, but she continues to fight to reclaim the life and health she had prior to that July 2010 day at the Dells' Extreme World.

After seeing the park's Terminal Velocity ride featured on a TV show, the teen talked her parents into taking her to the park about 90 miles east of La Crosse.

There she rode about 165 feet into the air to the top of a tower, where she would be strapped into a safety harness, lowered through a trap door and suspended above a safety net and safety air bags that cushion the falls of thrill-seekers plummeting from the heights.

However, a ride operator unaccountably lowered the girl through the trap door, though the air bags below had yet to be filled. Without getting clearance from below, the operator pulled the chord that sent the teen falling 100 feet to the ground.

Her injuries included: Brain swelling, several severe fractures of her spine and pelvis and lacerations of her intestines.

The ride operator would later say he had "blanked out."

Since then, the teen spent five days a week in physical therapy, finally regaining her ability to walk again, though it's at present with the aid of a walker.

She missed a year of school, too, but is working to catch up.

Several months after the incident, her family settled a personal injury lawsuit with the owners of Extreme World.

Let's hope this brave girl continues to regain what was taken from her by carelessness.

Source: Associated Press: "Florida girl hurt in Wisconsin Dells ride accident returns to help Madison hospital," Feb. 20, 2012

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