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Recovery Begins for Girl Thrown From Carnival Ride

Jennifer Jussell5 months ago

An eleven-year-old girl who was seriously injured when her hair was caught in an Omaha carnival ride two weeks ago opened her eyes and spoke for the first time last Friday. 

About the Young Girl’s Injury and Recovery

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth Cooksey was on a spinning ride called the “King's Crown” at a Cinco de Mayo carnival in Omaha, Nebraska when her hair was trapped in the machinery and part of her scalp was torn off.

She was thrown to the floor and her skull was fractured, and both of her eyes injured. At the time, her family and hospital doctors feared that she would never see again. 

Nearly a week after her accident, Elizabeth has opened one of her eyes, and was able to talk, according to her mother, “within five minutes” of having her breathing tube removed. She is fully conscious and aware now, telling her mother it felt like her “head got squished.”

Her left eye remains badly swollen, and she will likely need multiple skin grafts to repair the damage to her scalp.

According to Elizabeth's mother, her first words upon having the breathing tube removed were “Mommy, I can see you.” Her parents are hopeful that she will make a full recovery, but her mother says she still has “a long road ahead of her.” 

Community Rallies Around the Young Victim

The community has rallied in support of Cooksey. Her school signed a banner in support, and donors have contributed thousands of dollars to the family through a GoFundMe page.

In addition, parents of other children injured on carnival rides have contacted her mother with support. Cooksey and many others in the community are looking for answers, and for changes to prevent any further accidents occurring. 

Police say the accident is now under investigation. State authorities said the ride was inspected in April without any sign of damage. Thomas D. Thomas Shows, the company owning the ride, claimed in a statement that this was “the first time this has happened” and it “values the safety and health of our guests above all else.” The company has said their thoughts and prayers are with the Cooksey family.

“Our whole goal is to raise awareness for better safety laws and regulations,” said Elizabeth's mother.

The King's Crown ride will remain closed until it is determined safe to ride. 

This story comes not long after another story in which two teenage girls were flung from a carnival ride called The Sizzler, killing one and seriously injuring the other. 

Carnival Ride Injury Statistics

According to NBC News

  • Laws and regulations for pop-up carnivals differ from state to state, enabling carnivals to move states and continue operating after an injury has already occurred on one of their rides.
  • An estimated 300 million people get on carnival rides every year in the United States. 
  • More than 30,000 people were sent to the ER in 2015 for carnival ride related injuries. 
  • According to the CPSC, there were 52 deaths related to amusement park rides from 1990 to 2004. 


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