Request Legal Help Now - Free


"Too Often, Unrecognized Brain Injuries Result from Amusement Park Rides," Says Attorney

. By
West Palm Beach, FL"One of the greatest tragedies about brain injury cases is how often they go unrecognized," says John Romano of Romano Law Group, who routinely handles amusement park injury cases. "We have been involved in a number of cases when days or even weeks later parents notice a change in their child and they remember the amusement park ride…"

Romano sees a lot of brain injury cases: According to the CDC, every 21 seconds someone in the US sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is defined as a sudden physical damage to the brain—the result of a sudden, violent blow or jolt to the head. More than 50,000 people die of TBI each year, and some 5.3 million Americans who have suffered TBI will have life-long effects and need help performing daily activities. Most TBI's result from falls, and a close second from motor vehicle accidents, followed by struck by/against events, which typically result in mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) and are often related to sports or recreational activities, including amusement park accidents.

Romano is referring to closed brain head injuries that go unrecognized: the type of injury that isn't physically visible but can lead to severe brain damage and even death. And he sees this type of injury increasingly in children that are too young to go on certain rides—such as roller coasters—in amusement parks.

"Often, a physician will not at first detect a mild brain injury," says Romano, "but family members or friends start to see changes in personality and behavior such as speech patterns, or the individual may act and think 'differently.' Then they think back to something that may have happened in the amusement park."

A number of amusement park rides involve extreme physical movement, such as violent up and down movement. "It's easy to make a connection to a brain injury when a person has come into contact with say, a steel object," says Romano, "but when the head is whipped back and forth or up and down, under these circumstances a severe brain injury can result because the brain is being knocked violently back and forth against the skull."

Romano says it is very important for family and friends "to have an ever watchful eye for changes after going to an amusement park, and if you do see anything different, get into ER or see a doctor on a priority basis.

"For instance, Billy goes on a roller coaster ride and he immediately complains of headache or vision problems, his speech has changed or he has dizziness and nausea. These symptoms could be minimal and temporary, but at the same time, they could be some form of a closed head injury that requires immediate attention."

Amusement park accidents are not limited to children. Every now and then you hear of someone who has blacked out or suffered a heart attack—for many thrill-seekers, the scarier the ride, the better. "Some of these rides are designed to take you to the physical edge—beyond just it's scary or thrilling," Romano explains. "Some of them drop, start and stop at drastic speeds. Roller coaster G-forces (gravitational force) are more than some individuals can withstand." And brain injuries aren't just limited to roller coasters; Romano's firm is investigating one amusement park case where a young girl hit her head twice on a water slide.

Who is at fault when someone sustains a brain injury? Romano says it depends. "We look at any amusement park ride in terms of who the operators are letting on the ride. One of the biggest problems is that some operators allow children that are too young to go on violent rides. Many of these roller coasters are not meant for little kids but it means more profit for the operators and owners of the rides to fill more seats. Of course it is up to mom and dad to check the regulations, but ultimately the operators should not let them on—you can't fool around when it comes to these violent rides."

What can be done to ensure that everyone follows the rules? "We need to make sure operators are well trained and follow the rules and regulations so the risk to people will be minimized," says Romano. "You will always have some people who try and skirt the risks—kids lie about their age or even parents lie about their kids' ages. But operators should have a keen eye to look out. They should turn people away.

"My family recently went to an amusement park. My kids love the roller coaster: the faster and higher they go the better. Our youngest boy is only five and he was so excited, but you're not supposed to go on the ride unless you are eight—it was a mean roller coaster. We held him back but the ride operator winked at us and said, 'Come on, he will be fine.' My wife came off the ride and said, 'Thank god he didn't go,' because it was faster and more powerful than she expected and he would have been terrified. Sure the big attraction is that the rides are scary and thrilling, but you dont want your child to wind up with a brain injury as a result."


Brain Injury Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a personal injury lawyer who may evaluate your Brain Injury claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by

Hello, I'm currently 18 and have had roughly 10 concussions through the past 4 years due to cheerleading. However, I only reported, and treated, my first one to a doctor. I was wanting to know if I should get exams done and what could potentially be going on, neurologically. I began to suffer from severe depression and anxiety, have developed mild insomnia (I have to take medication to sleep through a night), and struggle with memory (especially short term). About 4 years ago I had to go to the ER because I had a vasovagal spasm but have not had this happen since. Whenever I go on roller coasters (aside from the ones that younger kids ride on), I black out multiple times. What could I possibly be diagnosed with?

Posted by

Hello. Im 28 years old. And im kind of worried but i dont wanna go to the dr unless i really have to. I went to the wv state fair and got home yesterday. Of coarse i rode every ride. I noticed yesterday, my forehead had started swelling. And it keeps swelling. I had a sunburn but its going away and its still swelled. I have a roaring sound in my ears and im completely off balance. My eyes are most def hurting and im wanting to sleep alot. Could this be a side effect from the sunburn or something actually wrong...

Posted by

Hi, I went to an amusement park yesterday and after an hour of a car ride my head started hurting and is still here. My neck also has started to hurt and is also still here. I have also been feeling sad for some reason and yesterday I started crying for no apparent reason. I am also feeling it hard to concentrate upon my studies and have an important test coming up. Yesterday was my first time going on all the rides at a park since I don't particularly like roller coasters. Well, my second but the other park did not have as many rides and they were not as violent. I also feel numb at random parts of the day. Is that related to my problems? My sleeping pattern has also started to change and I feel nervous about this. I also feel not like myself. I haven't contacted anybody about it except for my parents. I want to skip school so much because it is morning and I was perfectly healthy before the rides. I also did not do many contact sports... Well I do tennis and swimming but I don't think those are on contact sports. I did not smoke or do anything bad, or illegal since that is illegal for someone my age, and did not have trouble in school. I was mostly emotionally stable and now I have a worse temper and feel annoyed at a lot of things. I have been watching anime for the past hour and it seems to be helping me relax. One of the rides I went on started from stoping and started you off really fast. I don't know how fast but it started accelerating in a couple seconds.

Posted by

I noticed a huge change in my attitude around age 25. I am 35 now and in younger years I rode anh theme park ride, incl. roller coasters the bigger the better, for many many many years. During those times between 17-25ish, I suffered from bad migraines and very often, never connected it to theme park rides of any sort. This was NOT "hormones!"
The moment I stopped riding rides, due to a back injury, that was hereditary and unrelated, I NEVER experienced another migraine again, however I am NOT the same person I used to be. I feel stupid. It's not the " you don't use it, you lose it" concept of smarts, it is some sort of brain damage for sure and I do not need a doctor to tell me that. It takes a special sort of person to fly a jet and sustain those G forces because they are trained! Plus their head is not whipping around they have head support and helmets!

Posted by

I have been having headaches for over a year and a half now from riding rides at Universal Studios. They are almost every day. I have had migraines in the past, but nothing like the hell I am in daily now. I have had two MRI’s. The first this year in Feb. came back negative. The last one was in Sep. and was determined to have some mild damage and has been suggested as chronic headaches. I even had some new procedure done where I am not to have headaches for a year, but this only worked for a few days. Will this ever go away on its on?

Posted by

I went to an amusement park with my kids late august and I have not been the same since. The spinning rides and a kiddie roller coaster scrambled my brain. The kiddie coaster I went on was whipping my head front and back worse that any other coaster I have been on. Went on twice, once with each daughter. The spinning teacup rides and others similar rides then did me in. I experienced pain in the back of my eyes, pressure, extreme light sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, fogginess, fatigue, high pitched ringing and sleeplessness. After a month of feeling miserable went to doctor who thought I had vertigo. Took medication but all it did was make me feel drowsy on-top of all my other symptoms. Not vertigo. He ordered MRI which showed minimal flattening of posterior globes of eyes which may be an indicator of increased intracranial pressure. Went to ophthalmologist who found nothing wrong except I need glasses. Been slowly getting better but not the same. My driving skills have gone downhill. I feel unsure, slower to react, parking crooked, hitting cars while parking, can't judge distance properly and even turned up a one way street the wrong way. Concentration and mental acuity diminished. Went to neurologist who ordered a special 3T MRI. Will get that in a week. Not hopeful it will show anything. After researching I am convinced I suffered an injury to my prefrontal cortex. I decided to take Ibuprofen once a day in case there was lingering brain inflammation. Two weeks later I was feeling much better and closer to my old self. Since I was feeling better I called an old friend to catch up and we laughed a lot on the phone. After that conversation my symptoms immediately came back and I couldn't get out of bed for the next 24 hours. The laughing somehow triggered the symptoms to return which leads me to believe my brain is healing but is still very sensitive. I feel this is basically a concussion. I have a new appreciation what can happen on these rides and I will be very selective what rides my kids go on in the future. Their brains are still developing and the risk is not worth it. For me, looks like I will never enjoy another ride again. Just hope my brain heals because I have a family to take care of.

Posted by

My daughter was severely injured on a roller coaster. I am certain it was due to her head repeatedly hitting the over the shoulder restraint. She has missed a month of school now and being followed by a neurologist. No pain medication helps, and she has had 2 rounds of IV treatments. Her hearing has gone out 3 times, and the sound sensitivity is excruciating, followed by ringing in the ears. Immediately after her head was hit like this, she "saw stars," things "looked dark," and she could not remember her home phone number. A month later, we tried 30 mins. at school. She can't remember her school schedule and was having trouble remembering the months of the year. She is 15. I have read many, many reports of the way people's heads get hit on these restraints and wondering about others ending up with terrible concussions like my daughter's.

Posted by

Hi, yesterday I went to a theme park and went on several scary rides. A the end we repeated our favorite ride which was a loop the loop. No one was there at this time so we went right to the front. It felt scarier, faster and way more pressure on my head and neck. I got off and felt very dizzy with my head and eyes hurting. I had to sit down for several minutes.
I started to worry when I got home, as I still wasn't feeling comfortable. I didn't sleep well and today I also fell pressure in my head, and just not great. I'm a little worried I might have injured my head rupturing a nerve or something. I'm not sure what to do.

Please of you could advise.



Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.

Click to learn more about

Request Legal Help Now! - Free