Universal Faces Lawsuit After Water Slide Ride Causes Spinal Cord Injury

spinal injury

A family vacation to Universal’s Volcano Bay attraction led to a disastrous spinal cord injury for a New York man, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. Today he is barely able to walk or stand-alone, requiring forearm crutches to support himself for anything but a few minutes. He can’t drive, help around the house or do any activities that require standing or walking. He has filed suit against the amusement park, accusing them of negligence.

The man’s spinal cord injury happened during what should have been a happy moment on a family trip with his wife and three daughters. The four of them decided to compete against each other on the four-lane slide called Punga Racers.

Spinal Cord Injury Followed Rider’s Careful Adherence to Employee Instruction

Though he had gone through multiple checks prior to getting on the ride and carefully followed the staff’s directions, using the provided mat and sliding down on his stomach headfirst, the man’s neck snapped at the ride’s end, where his face and head hit a wall of water. The result was a compression injury that left him face down in a small pool, paralyzed and at risk of drowning. He was immediately taken by to a local hospital, where physicians diagnosed a severe spinal cord compression along the C3 to C7 vertebrae and suffering from an irregular heartbeat.

Following the spinal cord injury diagnosis, he had extensive surgery to remove part of his vertebrae and fuse a section of his spinal column. Though he was quadriplegic after awakening from the surgery, intensive rehabilitation has provided strength and motion in his limbs and he now has minimal sensitivity. After the injury, the resort changed the ride’s weight limit to 150 pounds, which is 65 pounds less than he weighed at the time of the incident.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.