A day at the ballpark over Memorial Day weekend nearly turned catastrophic for an 11-year-old girl when she plummeted from the top of a climbing wall after her safety harness failed at a Miami Marlins game on Saturday.
Emily Davis was the first one up a climbing wall that had been set up for kids after the Marlins’ game against the San Francisco Giants when her safety harness came loose as she began her descent back down. She fell backward, dropping 18 feet and smacking her head on the concrete below. Her father had been shooting video of her climb on his cell phone when he rushed to her side, frantically feeling for a pulse or a heartbeat.
‘Be alive, be alive’
“It was, ‘Be alive, be alive, be alive,’’’ Jeff Davis told NBC News about his initial thoughts. “Anything else we can take care from here. About that time, that's when she first started gurgling and moaning, making these beautiful noises.’’
“I started coming back down, and the cable snapped and I fell on my back,’’ Emily told NBC News from her hospital bed. “All I remember was seeing everything kind of fall as I was, and then I blacked out.’’
Emily was taken to the Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and serious bruising, but luckily no broken bones or internal organ damage. The accident is under investigation, and the Marlins said in a statement that they immediately closed the climbing wall after the girl’s fall. Davis’s parents told NBC News they are considering legal action.Story: Washing machine child’s mom: I’ll press charges
“The Marlins will continue to prioritize safety for all activities taking place at Marlins Park,’’ the team said in a statement. “We wish her well in her continued recovery.’’
The vendor the Marlins hired to operate the rock-climbing wall declined comment to NBC News.
It turned out that the worst part of the ordeal for Davis was wearing a neck brace in the immediate aftermath while in the hospital.
“It was kind of like a dog with those cones over your head,’’ she said. “It wasn’t comfortable at all.’’Video: Caught on tape: Girl falls 18 feet from rock wall (on this page)
Davis has begun slowly walking again as she recovers, and her father wants to warn other parents to be careful and check the safety equipment on climbing walls before their children start playing on them. Davis also has learned a valuable lesson when it comes to being the first one up to the top of a climbing wall.
“Just make sure that several other people have gone before all of a sudden you go,’’ she said, laughing.
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