MADISON TWP. — The mother of a Valley View High School sophomore said the last place her daughter wanted to spend her 15th birthday on Tuesday was in the hospital.
But that’s where Olivia Kozuszek finds herself after a serious accident last week at the Land of Illusion Aqua Adventure Park.
The Madison Twp. Fire Dept. was called to the water park around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a 14-year-old girl who suffered possible spinal injuries after falling 20 to 25 feet off an inflatable and into the water, said Jordan Peters, assistant fire chief.
“That’s a pretty decent fall,” Peters said.
He said Olivia was assisted out of the water by a brother, and a family friend and registered nurse held her neck until firefighters arrived, Peters said.
She was placed on a backboard and taken to Atrium Medical Center, the closest trauma center, he said.
Olivia’s mother, Heidi Russell, said she was called about the accident and she immediately drove to the water park. She expected her daughter to have a sprained ankle or similar less serious injury, she said.
Then she saw her daughter with a possible spinal injury.
“Very much in shock,” Russell said when asked her reaction.
Olivia, a Valley View cheerleader and softball player, has been transported from Atrium to Dayton Children’s Hospital. Doctors there are waiting for the swelling to subside before they perform spinal surgery, her mother said.
“It’s a waiting game,” she said. “They’re keeping her stable.”
She believes her daughter has torn ligaments around her spinal cord.
Officials from the water park didn’t return calls from the Journal-News.
In the days since the accident, a GoFundMe page has been established to assist the family with medical expenses. Nearly $6,000 of the $7,500 goal has been raised, according to the site.
Russell said she’s “very overwhelmed” and “grateful for the love and support from the community.”
She paused, then added: “It’s emotional, honestly.”
Olivia is the daughter of Justin (Haley) Kozuszek and Heidi (Cameron) Russell.
She also was crowned the 2022 Pretzel Festival Queen and 2022 AmeriFest Teen Miss Holiday Fest.
On July 20, 2021, Mykiara Jones, 14, an incoming freshman at Middletown High School, drowned at the water park while swimming without a life jacket. Her body was found in the murky water 30 minutes after she was last seen that evening.
Two days after the drowning, the water park hired an independent investigator to undertake an assessment and gap analysis of the park’s health and safety policies, procedures and programs, it said in a release.
The investigation, conducted by Dan Wood of Industrial Safety Services of Ohio, revealed no violations of law or regulations during the drowning.