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2 serious sledding incidents send 2 teens to the hospital with severe injuries

13-year-old, 17-year-old girls injured
17-year-old seriously injured in sledding incident
Posted at 4:43 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 13:55:57-05

HINCKLEY TOWNSHIP, OHIO — Twice in as many days, Hinckley rescue crews responded to the Hinckley sledding hill in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Hinckley Reservation for what the Hinckley Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh described as severe accidents.

On Saturday, a 13-year-old girl sustained serious head injuries and on Sunday, 17-year-old Natalie Wilson was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center with serious injuries after a sledding accident.

“I’ve been with the department for 24 years. Through the years we’ve had broken bones, concussions, scrapes, things of that nature but we’ve never had any type of traumatic events that occurred like this weekend,” said Grossenbaugh.

Wilson was sledding with her friend and her siblings Sunday evening.

“I was sitting watching TV, I got a call from her almost immediately after it happened, screaming I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs,” said Natalie’s dad, Jim Wilson.

Wilson said it was her final trip down the hill when something went wrong. The sled slid out of control.

“She broke her back at the T5 and 6 level, complete break, and did some severe injury to the spine, putting her right now, we’re hoping, in a temporary state of paralysis,” Wilson said.

Grossenbaugh said crews are typically called to the sledding hill a few times a snow season. Twice in two days, he said is unusual.

Wilson wants the Metroparks to shut down the hill until someone can figure out what caused the two accidents to happen.

“From what I heard, the people who know the area said these incidents are some of the worst they’ve seen in decades, “said Wilson.

"Our thoughts are with the families impacted by the sledding incidents that occurred over the weekend. We are looking into the incidents and the circumstances around these tragic events,” said Jacqueline Gerling, director of communications for the Cleaveland Metroparks.

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