LIMA — A 10-year-old girl who otherwise would have entered the fifth grade at Perry schools on Monday instead is a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Kylie Richards began experiencing dizziness and a headache after exiting the Orbiter ride Sunday night at the Allen County Fair. Things spiraled downward from there.
Her mother, Mandy Triplett, on Wednesday recounted the series of events that landed her daughter in the Columbus hospital with what she said was described by doctors as a “spinal stroke.” The young girl has exhibited no movement in her extremities since arriving at the Columbus hospital and all her family can do is hope each passing day brings improvement in her condition.
“She got off the Orbiter ride Sunday night and complained that her back was hurting,” Triplett said from her daughter’s hospital room. “We sat down for a few minutes and then she looked at her dad and me and said her head hurt and that she felt dizzy. We knew something was not right.”
Kylie’s parents took their daughter to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, and the child subsequently was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
“Yesterday we were told by the doctor that (Kylie) had a spinal stroke, an injury to her back that they say is like a whiplash,” said Triplett. “She is only 10 years old and she’s real tiny to begin with,” Kylie’s mother said. “I don’t even know if she was big enough to get on that ride.”
But Triplett and Kylie’s father, Keith Richards, don’t believe there was any malfunction or other abnormality surrounding the amusement attraction that the young girl rode shortly before experiencing her symptoms.
“My opinion is that it was just a freak accident,” her mother said.
She said the incident was not reported to fair officials or anyone associated with Poor Jack Amusements, the company that is providing midway attractions at this year’s fair. A spokesman from the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Amusement Ride and Safety said an inspector was headed to the Allen County fairgrounds Wednesday to investigate further. Representatives of the Poor Jack company could not be reached for comment.
“We’re trying to focus on Kylie right now. They are telling us she has a long road ahead of her,” Triplett said. “Right now she can only move her head from side to side and has no movement in her arms or legs. All I ask people to do is pray; a miracle can happen.”
Donation jars to help the family with medical expenses have been placed at Fat Jack’s Pizza in Shawnee and both Lima locations of Daryl and Daryl’s.