Sledding holds great dangers

A young girl learns just how scary sledding can be.


Carla May

Alaina May in the doctor’s office with another injury only a few months later.

Alaina May and Rebecca Mayfield

Breaking five bones in her back at age 7, Alaina May had an accident while sledding in Rockland, Idaho.

“It was one the most frightening experience of my life,” May said, even years after the accident.

Her family met up at her grandparents’ house on New Year’s to go sledding. It was a common family tradition. The rest of her cousins would come, too. They chose the biggest hill in the town, which held a wide road.

May said that she was nervous about going on the inner tube, but her father insisted on her riding with him. The two of them mounted the tube while her family cleared the way.

The family assumed they were safe because there had been several feet of snow that year. As soon as they began, the tube was spinning out of control. It hit a sharp rock and popped, launching the pair into a barbed-wire fence.

May said, “I blacked out pretty much immediately after hitting the ground, and when I woke up my dad was carrying me up the hill.” She knocked a tooth out when she hit the ground, but didn’t seem to mind when it fell out onto the snow.

The family ended up waiting a few hours to see if the pain in her back would dull. Meanwhile, May rested at her grandparents’ before heading to the hospital.

“I remember feeling nervous before I went into the hospital, but most of it I must have blocked from my mind,” She says when reflecting on the memory.

Once they did arrive, they discovered five vertebrae had cracked. They did a CAT scan on her head, but fortunately nothing serious was damaged.

Since May was so young, a brace wasn’t needed. A few weeks of healing on heating pads was all it took. Although, her first-grade self was pretty heartbroken when she couldn’t participate in P.E.

She says the memory still haunts her, and because of that, this sledding trip was one of Alaina’s last.