Harlee Flynn is lucky to be alive after falling from the bleachers at her brother’s basketball game. Her neck brace tells the story of a 20-foot plunge. Harlee tells the story through a nine-year-old’s eyes.
“I was just laying there,” she said.
Her mother, Bobbie Flynn, told us, “I kind of remember screaming, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ and running down there."
Harlee hit the floor and was knocked unconscious. Bobbie thought, “the worst thing possible until I heard her cry."
“My feet kinda hurted because they kind of slammed against the floor," the girl said.
She was attending her brother’s basketball game in Manning. The family, and others in the crowd, say there was no seating available so they sat where they could but Bobbie told us, “I've never seen bleachers pushed up like that before."
Trent Holste and Leslie Tyree were also at the tournament when Harlee fell.
Leslie said, “She laid there lifeless and she couldn’t move.”
“It all happened so fast," Trent said.
Leslie was worried this would happen. Hours earlier she had approached tournament organizers about the lack of seating. She posted pictures and her concerns on Facebook after Harlee fell.
Leslie said, “Somebody came in screaming to everybody, ‘Get down! Get down! You're not supposed to be up there.’"
It was a problem that ended up with Harlee being air-lifted to Des Moines for medical care.
“I was kind of scared because I didn't know what they were going to do," Harlee recalls.
The youngster has been released from the hospital but she’ll have to wear the neck brace until she goes back to a neurologist in two weeks. Until then, she’s surrounded by stuffed animals and flowers from friends; even strangers like Trent and Leslie.
That’s comforting for the little girl who said, “They made me feel better because I know they're thinking of me."
“I'm just really grateful that my daughter is here today," said her mom.
Harlee isn’t thrilled about wearing that neck brace to school but her family and other parents are happy she’s back home.
WOWT 6 News spoke with Manning Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ward. He says:
-The school district is installing gates to keep anyone from sitting on those bleachers. They are being painted today.
-The school will go to full-court tournaments, instead of two games going on at once. This will allow for more seating.
Dr. Ward says the school is in constant contact with Harlee's family. The School District sends their thoughts and prayers to the family.