Girl left paralyzed from sledding accident in Flagstaff - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Girl left paralyzed from sledding accident in Flagstaff

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With all that snow expected to hit the high country, you can bet people are going to be heading up for a fun winter day. But fun can quickly turn dangerous as one valley family found out during their snow play day.

Katrina Gerser was left paralyzed from the waist down in a freak sledding accident. After a month-long hospital stay, she's back in her Glendale home. But everything has changed.

"I want other people to have fun and not say, I can't go sledding because Katrina got hurt," says 16-year-old Katrina.

But Katrina's story is an unfortunate warning for some. The first run of the day down a snow covered Flagstaff hill and her tube spun backwards.

"I remember going down the hill, the tube turning."

She did not see the tree.

"I didn't know I was going to hit anything, it was all fun for me."

The accident broke a vertebra, dislocated another and fractured ribs.

"I told her, you cannot leave me Katrina," says mother Jenny Gerser.

There was a moment when jenny thought she might lose her only daughter, but Katrina pulled through. Now, she is paralyzed from the waist down.

"Probably won't be the same with the nerves," says Katrina.

It's a whole different life for Katrina. She needs around-the-clock care, as she learns to roll over in bed and sit up on her own.

Katrina, who keeps busy with school work, admits she has hit her breaking point a couple of times.

"Frustrations. Not being able to do things by myself, not physically at school. I'd rather be at school that in this situation."

Friends bring the family dinners. Many have donated money through a fundraiser.

A company remodeled the Gerser's home. Wheelchair ramps and widened door frames now make it easier for Katrina to get around.

Humor is the medicine that helps the family heal, and faith is what keeps them going.

"We still have hope that she can be healed. But we know that there's no guarantee so we need to be happy in the moment."

Katrina's biggest goal is to get back in the classroom, but first she's got to get a little more independent back home.

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