Teen injured in parasailing accident talks to "TODAY" show
For the first time since last summer's infamous parasailing accident, we're hearing from one of the Indiana teenagers injured.
NBC's Kerry Sanders talked with Alexis Fairchild about the accident that caused her to slam into a building and power lines before landing in a parking lot.
Alexis, 17, measures her accomplishments one step at a time.
"My head twitches every now and then but my back - that's the big issue," she said.
Doctors feared the Indiana teenager would never walk again after she and her friend Sidney Good, nearly died while on a Florida vacation.
The teens' afternoon tandem parasail ride off Panama City six months ago turned horribly wrong when the tow line to the boat snapped. Gusting winds slammed them into a 13-story building, then power lines, before plummeting to the ground, smashing into a parked car.
"I remember a lot. All of it, actually. I mean, to a point where I blacked out, but I don't know," she said. Alexis doesn't want to see the video, because, as she says, "I mean, I lived it."
In her first interview since the accident, Alexis, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, holds a computer generated model of her actual skull.
After three cranial surgeries, Alexis is reading at a fourth grade level. She says she has difficulty remembering numbers.
It's still very difficult for her parents to contemplate what happened.
"I can't do this. I can't talk about it," said Angie, Alexis' mother, tearfully.
"We thought we were going to lose Alexis," said her father.
It was only after the accident that they learned parasailing is unregulated in Florida.
"You have to have laws in place to make it safe. Simple as that," said Debi Chalik, the attorney representing the family against the parasail company and the resort.
Aquatic Adventures, the parasail company, said, "It is our policy not to comment while there is outstanding litigation."
Treasure Island Resort, where the teens went parasailing, said they extended their sympathies to the injured young women, but were "unable to comment further."
Alexis and her family will continue to deal with the effects of her traumatic brain injury. Alexis says she wants to use the incident as a means to keep others safe.
"I don't see a reason to play the victim card. I don't see the reason why I should be so upset about what happened," she said. "Why can't I just step up and be like, this happened to me and it should never happen to anyone else. You know, why not take a stand and try to get regulations? I would never wish what happened to me on anyone else."