DALLAS (AP) — A 16-year-old North Texas girl who plummeted more than 3,000 feet to the ground in an Oklahoma skydiving accident walked with assistance Monday and is expected to fully recover, her doctor said Monday.
Makenzie Wethington was transferred to the facility Friday after spending about a week in an Oklahoma City hospital following the Jan. 25 accident at a Chickasha skydiving school. Dr. Seema R. Sikka with the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas said at a news conference Monday that Wethington is likely to be hospitalized for a few more weeks.
"She is doing well. She's had multiple traumas but actually has been staying in good spirits," said Sikka, who added that the hospital was still evaluating her injuries, which include damage to her liver and a broken pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, shoulder blame, several ribs and teeth.
The teenager's parents attended Monday's news conference but Makenzie did not.
Her parents agreed to allow her to skydive as a 16th birthday present, and her father jumped ahead of her. When the teen from Joshua jumped, her canopy opened but with a malfunction that she was unable to correct, and she did not deploy a reserve parachute as she had been taught to do. Her father, Joe Wethington, has said she told him she blacked out as she plummeted to the ground. She landed on grass.
Sikka said that Makenzie Wethington will work on tasks like being able to get out of bed, brush her teeth and get dressed.
"From what we are seeing now, we expect and hope for a full recovery," Sikka said.
The girl's mother, Holly Wethington, said that her daughter was in good spirits and had lots of visitors over the weekend. "She is ready and eager to get well," she said.
She said that the damage to her daughter's teeth has made it hard for the teen to talk.
Her parents said that they did not have insurance, but Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation executive Jon Skinner said they qualified for a charity program that would cover her treatment there.