Such an accident can have a huge impact on a person's mental state, especially when the people involved in the accident are teenagers.
Emily and Alexandra G. (not their real names) were involved in a Yamaha Rhino rollover in May 2006. They and their family were out on some private land, three to four miles off the highway, in the middle of nowhere. While the rest of the family fished, Emily, then 14, and Alexandra, then 16, went for a ride in their Yamaha Rhino. The girls were both quite familiar with the outdoors and outdoor activities; however, they were not familiar with operation of the Yamaha Rhino.
As Alexandra drove around a corner, the Yamaha flipped over. Emily, naturally, put her arm out to break her fall. Unfortunately, because the Yamaha Rhino does not have doors, Emily's arm became pinned under the roll bar and was dragged along the ground as the Yamaha skidded. Her foot was also pinned under the roll bar.
According to her father, Bill, Emily's elbow was bent backwards and her bone was "ground against the ground." Because they were so far in the middle of nowhere, an ambulance could not be used to move Emily. Instead, she was airlifted to a hospital and then later moved to a children's hospital. Emily suffered a compound fracture and compound dislocation to her elbow as well as a right Lisfranc injury, in which the bones across the top of her foot were broken.
In all, Emily spent approximately 14 days in the hospital and underwent seven surgeries, including a skin graft. Although she can again use her right arm, she only has 120 degrees of mobility in her arm and cannot straighten her elbow fully. "We decided that we probably won't have more surgeries to have her arm straightened any more," Bill says. "The doctors told us that they could do the surgery but it may not do any good." He also notes that there is not enough skin tissue left to allow the elbow to open.
Alexandra was also injured in the rollover, suffering a dislocated shoulder. She has since recovered from her injuries.
However, Bill notes that both his daughters were traumatized by the accident. "They both had anxiety and car rollover concerns after the accident," Bill says. "If you drove a car too fast they got worried. Emily had post-traumatic stress after the accident and saw a sports psychologist for a while."
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
Bill says that Emily has played basketball for many years and recovered well enough from the accident to play basketball for her school in the fall. In fact, she returned to basketball and was the leading scorer that season. "Basketball was her reason for working hard to recover," Bill says.
Accidents in Yamaha Rhino ATVs involve serious physical injury, but they can also have a psychological component as well, especially when the people involved in the accident are young. Bill says he wishes that Yamaha had informed people about the risks involved with their ATVs. "We were unaware of how easy it is to roll over. That information was not disclosed. If we had known, we would have warned the girls about that and told them to keep their hands inside the vehicle."