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Teen Making “Miraculous Recovery” After Skydiving Fall

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Doctors say the teen who took a serious fall in a skydiving accident is making an “incredible” recovery.

It’s been just over week since 16 year old Makenzie Wethington’s parachute only partially opened during her – first ever – skydiving attempt in Oklahoma.

She took a significant fall, but survived.

At Baylor Rehabilitation Institute, the teenager walked about 80 feet with the help of a walker, despite having suffered fractured vertebrae, pelvis, ribs and a hip bone.

She also suffered bleeding on her brain from the fall.

Even doctors are stunned at the pace of her recovery.

“I think in her case it’s pretty incredible that she came out of this and she came out with injuries that she could heal from,” said Baylor Healthcare Dr. Seema Sikka.

They still don’t know what went wrong with the parachute but her father, Joe Wethington, who was with her during the jump, blames it on equipment failure and a lack of proper training before the jump.

It was the first time skydiving for both of them.

“My concern is not what happened that day,” said Holly Wethington, the teen’s mother. “It’s the fact that she’s still alive today and there’s a reason for it and my daughter is still here I get to see her every day.”

The teen remembers little about the accident.

“I’m just glad she’s here and she’s walking and she’s alive,” Holly Wethington said.

Her recovery could take weeks.

A 16-year-old North Texas girl who plummeted more than 3,000 feet to the ground in an Oklahoma skydiving accident walked with assistance Monday and is expected to fully recover, her doctor said Monday.

Makenzie Wethington was transferred to the facility Friday after spending about a week in an Oklahoma City hospital following the Jan. 25 accident at a Chickasha skydiving school. Dr. Seema R. Sikka with the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas said at a news conference Monday that Wethington is likely to be hospitalized for a few more weeks.

“She is doing well. She’s had multiple traumas but actually has been staying in good spirits,” said Sikka, who added that the hospital was still evaluating her injuries, which include damage to her liver and a broken pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, shoulder blame, several ribs and teeth.

The teenager’s parents attended Monday’s news conference but Makenzie did not.

(credit: Baylor Institute For Rehabilitation)

(credit: Baylor Institute For Rehabilitation)

The girl’s mother, Holly Wethington, said that her daughter was in good spirits and had lots of visitors over the weekend. “She is ready and eager to get well,” she said.

She said that the damage to her daughter’s teeth has made it hard for the teen to talk.

Her parents said that they did not have insurance, but Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation executive Jon Skinner said they qualified for a charity program that would cover her treatment there.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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