After thrill-ride horror, brave climb back for severely hurt girl

Until last week, Teagan Marti's parents never told her the whole story.

All Julie Marti told Teagan about why the 13-year-old could no longer move was: "Do you remember going to Extreme World? You had a bad fall."

Last Friday, Teagan asked for more. She smacked her lips to get her mom's attention. Through her breathing tube, she gurgled: "Mom, how far did I fall?"

Julie paused and wondered if now was the time. But she wanted to be honest. "Honey, you fell 100 feet."

Teagan stared at her for a moment. She only recently regained the ability to use that chipmunk-sounding voice again, which now had a husky, warbling resonance.

"That must have been scary," she said.

In some ways, the future is scarier. After 80 days of hospital care, 13-year-old Teagan will return to her Parkland home on Monday. She still can't walk -- no one is sure if she ever will. But she has made more progress quicker than her parents ever imagined, which makes them hopeful.

Awaiting the family is a delicate set of challenges that the parents of all paralyzed children endure: the worry that improvements will be slowed now that doctors aren't monitoring her every move. The stares from strangers. The struggles with their insurance company over what their baby girl will need -- and how to pay for it.

But the idea of going home enthuses Teagan. She is ready to brave the world, riding in a motor-powered wheelchair.

"I'm happy," she said Friday about leaving. "I miss my pets."

The initial prognosis was damning.

She's dead, thought Dr. Alex Marti, her dad and a radiologist, when he heard the thud as Teagan slammed to the ground.

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