Indiana teens talk about parasailing accident
An Indiana teenager is talking publicly for the first time since a frightening parasailing crash that was seen around the world.
Sidney Good and her friend, Alexis Fairchild, suffered critical injuries last summer after crashing into a building and down to the ground when the parasail they were riding broke free.
"I remember everything," Fairchild said.
"I saw the video and I was like, 'That's not me'," Good said.
The 17-year-old childhood friends were swept away in strong winds over Panama City Beach, Florida.
"I remember everything up until hitting the building and then landing," Fairchild said.
On the way down, they hit power lines and crashed into a parking lot.
"It's, like, 'Are you sure that's me?' It's crazy," Good said.
It happened last July and it's a vacation memory Good would like to forget.
"I really try not to think about it. It was just a bad time, so I really don't want to think about it that much," she said.
Both girls were in critical condition in a Florida hospital before coming to RHI in Indianapolis for rehabilitation. Good had a broken back and a brain injury that affected her emotions, her memory and her vision.
It's only now that she feels confident enough to show herself for the first time on camera.
"When I first got to rehab here, I couldn't walk. I could talk, but it was still kind of iffy. I was in a wheelchair, I had a lot of emotional problems. I cried constantly about it, I didn't understand why I looked the way I did," she said. "I am a little bit angry, but then when I do get angry, I have to think that I am walking, I'm talking, I am alive, because I'm not supposed to be."
Fairchild also says she's struggled with looking in the mirror.
"I don't see what I wish I saw. I mean, if you were to wake up and you were forced to have your hair shaved off and like the little scars," she said. "I'm not going to be the same, but just knowing that no matter how hard I work, it's not going to be the same. I can just get better. Especially appearance-wise, like, I don't look the same as I did and I just have to be okay with that."
The accident happened the summer before their senior year of high school.
"I was actually just starting to get my life figured out. I wanted to go to college here, I wanted to own my own hair salon and finish beauty school and all of that got ripped away from me," Good said. "So, I mean, I am on the road to doing that, but just not how I thought I was going to have to do it."
There are setbacks. Part of Fairchild's skull was removed three times because of swelling and infection.
"I'm getting closer everyday. I have a brain injury so, I mean, things are a little off. Sometimes people walk up to me, they are, like, 'How are you?' and I'm like, 'Do I know you? What are you meaning, what's happening with that?' But for the most part, everything is good," Fairchild said.
She says she remembers the accident, but hasn't watched the video.
"I am not there yet. I think one day it will all happen, but it will be with my counselor and with my parents," Fairchild said.
Both girls were recently honored as RHI's "Patients of the Year" for their extraordinary recovery. It was a time to celebrate with family.
"They have been there since day one and it's just amazing that they have never left my side," Good said.
Though in many ways, it's been a parallel journey, the friends since kindergarten are now sitting separately, trying to sort out their feelings.
Good had little to say about her relationship with Fairchild today.
"All I will say about it is, it is just not good," she said.
"We sat down once, but it wasn't, like, much of a talk," Fairchild said.
A sign of reconciliation, Fairchild posted a picture on social media from prom over the weekend.
"Soo yes this happened! Sidney and I got a picture at prom last night lol!! Prom was seriously soo much fun! Everyone looks soo pretty!!" she wrote.
Now, with support of family and counselors, they look ahead.
"I didn't think I was going to be able to graduate and I'm graduating on June 6 with my class, so that's important to me," Good said.
Fairchild will walk with her class, too, and work toward graduation.
"I'm kind of humbled by myself sometimes and same with Sidney. I mean, I don't see how we made it through sometimes," she said.
"There was obviously a greater power that day," Good said. "I would just like to thank everybody for their support and just never to forget that your life can change in a second and when you are least expecting it."