Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teenager's Memory Erases Itself Every Two Hours Due to Traumatic Head Injury: 'It's Like a Movie'


One family in Illinois is trying to solve a medical mystery after their teenage daughter attended an FFA state convention and came back with an inexplicable injury.

According to WQAD, Riley Horner was at a dance with other FFA members when a crowd surfer kicked her in the head.

“Details are foggy, but what we do know is Riley was taken to St. John’s hospital by ambulance,” the teen’s mother, Sarah Horner, wrote on her GoFundMe page.

“Jason and I made the 2 1/2 hour drive and arrived at 1am! We found Riley, with a hurt knee (no surprise) but we also found our daughter not acting like herself at all.”

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Even the CT scan showed no issues, and Riley was released from the hospital only to suffer dozens of seizures and find herself back under the doctors‘ care.

Medical tests have come back normal, though, and three months later the family is still searching for answers.

“When she wakes up every morning, she thinks it’s June 11,” Sarah told WQAD. Every day, the teen is shocked by the passage of time.

“I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like ‘woah,'” she said.

“They tell us there’s nothing medically wrong,” Sarah said.

“My brother passed away last week, and she probably has no idea,” Sarah added. “And we tell her every day, but she has no idea about it.”

Riley’s memory resets itself every two hours, which means she can’t even remember events from earlier in the day. She admitted to WQAD that she would forget the interview by dinner.

“It’s like a movie,” Riley said. “Like I will have no recollection of [this interview] come supper time.”

“I’m not making memories,” she said. “And I’m just like really scared.”

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While doctors have told the family that this condition could be permanent, the family is not accepting that prognosis yet. According to what they told WQAD, they have a window of six months before the damage is irreversible.

The family is also dealing with many unknowns, and Riley’s condition can change in a moment.

“Last Saturday, Riley had an incident where she was having a bad headache and then became unresponsive to wake up,” Sarah shared on GoFundMe. “She was breathing, heart beating, but she wouldn’t wake up. She was like this for 45 minutes.”

“When she finally woke up, she started having tremors in her left leg and left arm. She was unable to stand or walk. Fast forward to Wednesday (9/11/19) and she is still unable to bear weight on her left leg. We took a trip to the ER, only to be told they don’t see anything wrong. Story of our life right now! So now she has no memory, severe headaches, gets dizzy and is walking on crutches.”

After Riley’s story made the rounds earlier this month, many people contacted the family with offers of help. Sarah posted publicly on Facebook to thank everyone and direct them toward the family’s GoFundMe page.

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring love and concern for Riley,” Sarah shared Sept. 12 on Facebook. “I am now getting thousands of emails, messages, etc. My phone doesn’t stop ringing and we have been contacted from every news media including CNN, Inside Edition, the Today Show as well as news media from Europe and Australia.”

‘We have been asked so many times where people could donate to help our family, so we have set up the one and only Go Fund me for Riley,” she wrote. “This has been set up for people who want to help Riley.”

“We are looking into doctors all over the US and once we decide, these funds will help us be able to get flights, hotels and pay for treatment. The current place we are looking into has a cost of $13K. This is out of character for us and its very hard to accept money from complete strangers, but the amount of outpouring love we have had we feel that we need to let people help us. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!”

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