HOUSTON, TX (May04,
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As summer approaches and kids get let out of school, experts say the number of ATV accidents will likely go up.
There are 150,000 ATV-related injuries every year and that number continues to rise.
Over the past 20 years, Texas has seen the 4th highest number of fatalities from ATV accidents in the country.
In 80 percent of those fatalities, the victim wasn't wearing a helmet.
Back in February, 15-year-old Kacey Davis was riding around on an ATV up in Magnolia. It's something she does quite often.
She was going under 5 mph and she had her seat belt on, but even when you're being safe, accidents can happen.
"I hit something and once I started to slow down and it flipped over and it hit me and I got crushed under it and it crushed right here and on my foot," said Kacey.
What was supposed to be a quick break from her algebra studies left her with an amputated finger and a severely injured left foot.
She's restricted to a wheel-chair, has to be home-schooled and has put her extra-curricular activities on hold.
"I can't ride my horse or run track, I didn't get to finish my season in track, I was 2 seconds away from states, as a freshman, so I was pretty mad about that," said Kacey.
After 9 surgeries, Kacey is hoping the Children's Memorial Hermann team will give her the okay to start wearing a normal shoe again.
But not everyone gets the okay. Kacey is just one of many patients that Dr. Milan Sen treats.
"There's definitely been a rise in the number of ATV accidents, especially amongst the younger population so the concern, especially with this case, is the disproportionate number of the people who are affected by these accidents, are children. They only make up 15% of ATV users, but they make up nearly 1/3 of the number of people that are injured and the number of fatalities we see following ATV accidents. Sometimes it's an accident, but there are things that could be avoided. Young children under the age of 12 isn't recommended, larger vehicles with larger vehicles aren't recommended if they're under the age of 16, not recommended to have more than one person on an ATV," said Dr. Sen.
Kacey knows people are going to ride ATVs even though they can be dangerous. She just hopes people ride safely.
"If it had a door on it, my foot would probably be saved and protective gear for sure and always wear your seat belt, because if I hadn't, I'd be dead, for sure," said Kacey.
After a few weeks of walking, Kacey will eventually start riding her horse again with her right hand.
As for "ATV-ing," she tells me she won't drive one, but she will ride as a passenger.
Even though the ATV caused her serious injury, she said that won't let stop her from doing what she wants to do.