By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
It’s been seven weeks since British tourist Amelia Dean was gored and flipped by a bison in Custer State Park.
Dean is still hospitalized in Rapid City, South Dakota where she is going through therapy to deal with partial paralysis as a result of the injuries.
Unlike many of the tourists in Yellowstone National Park who have deliberately put themselves in harm’s way by taunting bison or trying to pet or ride them, Dean said she was doing everything by the book.
Dean stayed far away from the bison herd, she said, although admitting that she could have turned around upon spotting the bison but was thirsty so decided to continue and “walk around them.”
Yellowstone officials advise staying at least 25 yards away from bison. Dean said she was more than 100 yards away from a bison herd when one began running her way.
“The bison just ran down the hill at her. It came right up and stopped in front of her and then apparently, they had a bit of eye contact for a few seconds,” Dean’s mother Jacqueline told South Dakota TV Station KOTA.
The bison stopped right in front of Dean and then gored her, Dean said.
“It went through her thigh with the horn. Came out the other end. Tossed her in the air,” Jacqueline said.
Dean’s father said she achieved between 10 – 15 feet of altitude before hitting the ground.
“I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels,” Amelia said.
According to KOTA, Dean’s femoral artery was punctured and although her prognosis was not good, she didn’t bleed out and was able to survive the injury.
“So, it’s a miracle I even lived until the ambulance got there, you know, let alone when I got here and kept my life and my leg,” she said.
Doctors say Dean is paralyzed from the knee down in her injured leg due to significant damage to two of her nerves.
Medical authorities are unsure how long Dean will be hospitalized. Dean’s mother said they tried to send her to the Mayo Clinic to see a specialist but the request was denied.
In the meantime, Dean said she hopes no one will cancel their trip to see wildlife as a result of her injuries.
“I think I hope this doesn’t discourage people from traveling. Travel and explore and have fun. This is a freak accident this isn’t going to happen every time somebody walks in a park. Hopefully,” she said.