MONMOUTH, Illinois — An Illinois teenager wakes up every day believing it’s June 11 due to a traumatic head injury that causes her memory to “reset” every two hours, according to WQAD.
Each morning Riley Horner wakes up confused.
“I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like ‘woah’,” Riley said.
Riley was accidentally kicked in the head by a student while “crowd surfing” during a dance at the FFA State Convention on June 11. After dozens of seizures and countless hospital visits, Riley’s symptoms are still a medical mystery.
Riley’s first doctor dismissed it as a concussion and simply sent her home on crutches, according to Sarah Horner, Riley’s mother.
“They tell us there’s nothing medically wrong,” Sarah said. “They can’t see anything. You can’t see a concussion though on an MRI or a CT scan. There’s no brain bleed, there’s no tumor.”
Riley carries every notebook, textbook, and pencil with her throughout the day because she can’t even remember where her locker is. In order to keep up with school, Riley needs detailed notes and sets an alarm for every two hours so she can brush up on what she has forgotten.
“My brother passed away last week and she probably has no idea. And we tell her every day but she has no idea about it,” Sarah said.
“I know it’s hard for them as much as it’s hard for me. And people just don’t understand. It’s like a movie,” Riley said. “Like I will have no recollection of (this interview) come supper time. I’m not making memories… and I’m just like really scared.”
The injury has changed everything for this former athlete and scholar.
“(Doctors) told us that she might just be like this forever. And I am not okay with that,” Sarah said tearfully.
The Horner’s say they are desperate for a diagnosis before it is too late. Sarah said research has shown that at six months with short term memory, it can cause irreversible damage.
“We need help,” Sarah pleaded tearfully. “We need somebody that knows a little bit more because she deserves better. I mean she wanted to be in the medical field and now she can’t even hold a job if she wanted to.”
Riley, on the other hand, said she just wants anyone else experiencing similar symptoms to know they are not alone.