Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2000

DeSoto girl recovering after bicycle accident

July 13, 2000

Shauna Coffindaffer woke up July 5 thinking what a wonderful day it was going to be.

She jumped on her bicycle in front of her home on Corliss Road and headed toward a nearby neighborhood where she knew there would be some hills to climb. The regimen was not unusual for the 18-year-old who is training to compete in her first triathlon next year.

A few hours later, Coffindaffer woke up in a hospital intensive care unit with a fractured skull, a concussion and a bruised body.

As closely as she can remember, Coffindaffer said, she was riding down a hill in a subdivision on Kill Creek Road when she saw in her path a woman walking her dog. She steered her bike slightly to the right to avoid hitting her.

"I yelled, 'to the left,' and then I thought she was going to the left, so I went to the right but so did she and I hit her," Coffindaffer said. "I guess I must have confused her."

Although she was wearing a helmet, the collision with the pavement knocked Coffindaffer unconscious. The next thing she remembered was looking up at the people who came out of their homes to see if she was all right.

"I remember talking to some of the neighbors and I remember the ambulance coming," she said. "But all I really wanted to do was go back to sleep."

Both Coffindaffer and the woman she hit, Kathy Arnold, were taken to the hospital. Arnold was released after receiving a few stitches and treatment for a bump on her head. Coffindaffer's injuries were more serious.

She was transferred out of the intensive care unit after the first night, but stayed an extra day in the hospital for observation.

She made it home in time for the weekend, but was soon back at the hospital.

"Monday morning she looked pretty good," he mother Dana Coffindaffer said. "We were talking and all of the sudden she just stopped talking and dropped what she had in her hands. It really reminded me of someone having a stroke."

Panicked, Dana called an ambulance and Shauna was again rushed to the hospital.

The doctors kept her overnight Monday with a diagnosis of dehydration.

"Because head injuries make you want to sleep a lot, she didn't drink much the day before and became extremely dehydrated," Dana explained. "Sleepiness is very common after a head injury."

Back home again, Coffindaffer is recovering well. Doctors don't expect her to suffer any permanent damage due to the accident.

"They said it will take her about a month to get back to her normal activities and it could be up to a year before she feels completely right again," Dana said. "Head injuries take a long time to heal, but her memory and motor skills are in tact, so she should be fine."

Both Dana and Coffindaffer said they felt lucky no one was hurt more seriously and both were looking forward to putting the accident behind them.

"I think I'll feel relieved when she comes in the house all sweaty and smelling of the outdoors again. Then I'll know everything's back to normal," Dana said.

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