Mother's warning after teen daughter breaks neck on homemade zip line


"I could be either paralyzed or dead right now."

Teenager Amaya Pike, of Big Lake, Minnesota, suffered a broken neck after falling from a zip line set up in a friend's back yard, but admits she is lucky her injuries weren't any worse.

Her mother, Jennifer May, told FOX 9 that she hopes her daughter's experience serves as a cautionary tale to anyone thinking of trying out homemade zip lines.

"She could have been paralyzed, she could have brain damage, she could have died," May said.

Although the TV station reports her friend had warned her not to go on the zip line, the Big Lake High 9th grader says he failed to mention that someone had previously fallen from it.

According to a GoFundMe page, the 14-year-old fell from the tree fort on Sept. 30, which left her with a broken neck – which fortunately broke cleanly and didn't lead to any paralysis – as well as a concussion and a contused long.

After being transferred to the ICU at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, she had a halo fitted which will she will now have to wear for up to two months as she undergoes a long and difficult recovery.

The GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Pike's care, with the page noting that her mother works 2 jobs and she would benefit from having someone who could care for her daughter at home.

In a post on her Facebook page following the response to the FOX 9 report, Pike said she knew others had gone on the zip line before and that while she wanted to try it out, she wasn't asking to get hurt.

"It wasn't 'my choice' to break my neck," she said.

Zip line injuries on the rise

According to Health Day, zip lining has grown in popularity in recent years and there are now more than 13,000 "amateur" zip lines set up in education programs, camps and backyards.

But as the number of lines increase, so does the danger, with the website noting that 16,850 nonfatal zip line injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1997 and 2012 – with 70 percent of them coming between 2008-2012.

Nationwide Children's Hospital has also expressed concern about the pursuit, noting that when zip line injuries do occur they are generally more serious, as was the case with Pike – who fell from the line onto her head.

"The high rate of hospitalization is consistent with what we see for adventure sports and reflects the severity of the injuries associated with this activity," Tracy Mehan, of Nationwide Children's Hospital, told Daily RX News.

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