Video captures moment falling cell phone left woman brain damaged at Oklahoma fair

A woman who was struck by a falling cell phone at the Oklahoma State Fair last week has since been diagnosed with a brain injury after returning to hospital.

Rebecca Gillespie was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury on Thursday, almost 48 hours after she was hit by a cell phone that had fallen from a ride at the state fair, her mother told KFOR.

The 18-year-old, according to her mother, Heidi Gillespie, was diagnosed with concussion and was sent home on Tuesday night with instructions from doctors to rest and watch out for any symptoms.

On Wednesday, she was found unconscious by her boyfriend and was rushed back to hospital, where her mother said doctors gave a diagnoses of a traumatic brain injury following the incident on Tuesday.

“She [was] kind of slumped over and wasn’t responding,” said Ms Gillespie. “Does she have a brain bleed or is something going on or is she having a stroke? [There are] all the scenarios going through your head of what could be wrong.”

Ms Gillespie told the news station that despite a long road to recovery, doctors said on Tuesday “she was really lucky because it [the cell phone] could have killed her”.

A video of the incident showed a small object being flung from the Street Fighter 360 ride at the state fair on Tuesday before hitting Ms Gillespie, who was earlier released from hospital but lost consciousness days later.

The 18-year-old posted an image of her injury to Facebook before being rushed back to hospital on Thursday (Rebecca Gillespie  / Facebook)
The 18-year-old posted an image of her injury to Facebook before being rushed back to hospital on Thursday (Rebecca Gillespie / Facebook)

“[The phone] gashes her head open, shatters. Glass went everywhere,” said her mother, recalling the incident.

Scott Munz, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma State Fair, told NewsOn6 that organisers of the annual event worked to prevent such incidents and that taking cell phones on rides was prohibited.

“It’s very clearly posted by itself just as you’re getting on the ride no cell phones,” said Mr Munz. “Most people are not out here by themselves, the reality of it is they’re traveling with somebody. They should leave it with an individual who’s not on the ride. Leave it with them at the entrance to the ride.” 

Mr Munz added in remarks to KFOR that the incident was “the worst thing that’s happened at the fair”, which has around around 900,000 visitors each year in September.

The Independent has approached the Oklahoma State Fair for comment.