HIGHLAND VILLAGE, Texas -- Sledding; it's the thrill-seeking highlight of the uncommon snow day in North Texas.
For 16-year-old Lauren Barnard, shrieks of excitement turned to screams for help.
“Maybe we just didn’t realize that it was so dangerous and it was so slick,” said her mother, Betty Jo Barnard.
Mrs. Barnard was visiting her daughter at Parkland Hospital Thursday morning where she’s been since being transferred from a Lewisville hospital after the accident.
Last Friday morning, after the ice storm that hit Denton County especially hard, Lauren and her 10-year-old brother, Noah, decided to go sledding using an antique sled given to them by their grandfather. Lauren started down a hill near her family's home in Highland Village.
“When she got to the end, she just kept going and off down into the ravine area,” her mother said.
Lauren fell six feet onto sharp, ice-covered rocks suffering a broken nose and numerous internal injuries.
“Her pancreas was sliced in half,” Mrs. Barnhard said. “Her spleen was injured, and her intestines had lacerations as well.”
Lauren underwent surgery at Parkland Hospital. Her friends at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, where she is student council vice president, have kept tabs on her progress on Facebook. More than 4,000 people have left messages on a prayer page with messages of support. Some of them are from as far away as California and New York.
Lauren's freak accident has also sent a message about safety already affecting snow days yet to be realized.
“I’ve had so many people call me saying, 'My kids are so mad at me right now because I will not let them go sledding now,'” Mrs. Barnard said.
Lauren won't be taking to the neighborhood slopes anytime soon. She was moved out of the intensive care unit Tuesday, and won't return to school for four-to-six weeks.
According to WebMD and statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 20,000 kids land in the emergency room as result of a sledding accident every year.