Archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Area teen injured in fall from horse

September 21, 2006

Sarah Smith, a 16-year-old Tonganoxie teen injured last Wednesday when she fell from her colt, remains in serious condition.

Sarah suffered a head injury in her fall from the horse and was flown by LifeStar to the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan.

She underwent surgery late Wednesday to remove a blood clot from her brain. Since then, Sarah has been kept under heavy sedation to allow her body to rest.

Sarah is the daughter of Vickie Smith, Tonganoxie, and Bruce Smith, Wyoming,

"The swelling in her brain hasn't changed," Vickie Smith said Tuesday. "It hasn't gotten any worse. We'd like to see it start getting better."

In the past few days, Sarah has opened her eyes and also moved her legs and arms.

"They are still just very basic movement," Smith said. "The nurse did tell me that last night she did open her eyes once to sound. ... Those are positive things, but it's way too early to get real excited about anything. The doctors tell me there are lots of other things that can happen, so we try to just take it day by day."

The accident occurred just a day before Kansas State Fair competitions. Sarah and her sister, Shannon, had planned to ride their colts, which they'd broken themselves, in the snaffle bit futurity. In this event, participants make two rides on 2-year-old horses that have been broken this year. The horses wear a snaffle bit, which has a joint in the center.

"They were trying to get one last ride in," their mother said.

The teens had extra time to ride Wednesday morning, because it was the school's late-start day.

Sarah's horse, L.B. (short for Little Bit) slipped on the wet grass, and Sarah fell off, hitting her head on the ground.

About that time, Todd Lux and Dan Chrisp were driving by the Smith residence. Lux looked over and saw Sarah on the ground, said Chrisp, who works with Lux in his mobile tire-repair business.

"We stopped and backed up and when we did, her sister (Shannon) came running over to the fence," Chrisp said.

The men called 911 and stayed with the girls until emergency help arrived.

Since then, Smith said, she's been amazed by the response of Tonganoxie residents.

"The town has just been absolutely incredible," Smith said. "We've had so many offers of help and we've had so many people offer to support me. We do appreciate it beyond words."

And she said, the help started almost immediately. Her pastor, the Rev. Dirk Scates, arrived at the hospital while Sarah still was in the emergency room.

"It was just incredible how quickly people moved," Smith said.

At the moment, only family members and close friends are allowed to see Sarah.

"When Sarah is to the point that she needs stimulation and all that, we certainly will be glad to have people come and sit with her," Smith said. "But right now we certainly can't over-stimulate her. That's why we're pretty careful about who can go in there."

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