A woman in the U.K. who had to be pulled from an amusement park ride after her legs were crushed under the weight of her family five years ago said she still suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression since the accident, which resulted in lasting nerve damage, soft tissue damage and long-term hypersensitivity.
Leah Napolitano, now 19, received about $26,000 from Thorpe Park's insurance company for the accident, but said it “ruined" her teenage years.
“The pain is life changing,” Napolitano, who endured years of physical therapy and missed school, told SWNS. “It’s a stupid injury that has ruined my teenage years. It has left me absolutely devastated and still affects my life now.”
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Napolitano said she was riding in the front of the now-shuttered log flume ride at the amusement park, but claims the ride operators overfilled the vessel and her legs were crushed under the weight of the other passengers.
She said the lasting impact has prevented her from returning to activities she previously loved, and that she never reached her full potential after having to postpone her education.
“My legs were completely trapped,” she said. “I couldn’t move them for the whole way round. I got to the end and couldn’t get out. The boat was still moving and a staff member tried to yank me out I was completely trapped under the metal bar at the front.”
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She said once she got out, she was in immediate pain and saw extreme swelling in her knee. A few days later it got worse, so she visited the doctor who referred her to therapists, but physical therapy wasn’t helping for the pain and she began missing classes. She still goes for electric shock treatment every nine months in hopes of healing the nerve damage.
“I haven’t reached my potential because of this,” she told SWNS. “I would swap [the money] to get the last few years of my life back without a doubt. It has left me devastated and still affects me now.”
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Napolitano said she is in therapy to help cope with her anxiety.
A spokesperson for the park told SWNS her claim was “analyzed by the company’s insurers, and after thorough consideration of the evidence submitted, an offer of compensation was made to Ms. Napolitano, which she accepted as full and final settlement.”
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