An Illinois teen wakes up every morning believing it’s June 11 after she suffered a traumatic head injury during a dance that makes her memory ‘reset’ every two hours.
Riley Horner, 16, was dancing with her friends at the FFA State Convention on June 11 when she was accidentally kicked in the head by another student who was ‘crowd surfing’.
The Monmouth teen’s doctors first dismissed her head injury as a concussion and she was sent home with crutches.
But Horner’s family knew something was wrong when she suffered dozens of seizures and required countless follow-up hospital visits and now Horner struggles to remember what day it is.
Illinois teenager Riley Horner, 16, suffers from short term memory where she wakes up thinking each day is June 11 and her memory wipes every two hours
On June 11 she was kicked in the head while dancing at the FFA State Convention by a student who was ‘crowd surfing’. At first doctors thought she just had a concussion, but then she suffered dozens of seizures and had to return to the hospital multiple times
‘I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like “woah”‘ the teen said to WQAD, adding the whole experience is like a surreal movie, not so different from the plot of the 1993 film Groundhog Day where a weatherman is caught in a time loop.
‘When she wakes up every morning, she thinks it’s June 11th,’ her mother Sarah Horner said.
But her head injury has puzzled all her doctors.
‘They tell us there’s nothing medically wrong,’ Sarah Horner said. ‘They can’t see anything. You can’t see a concussion though on an MRI or a CT scan. There’s no brain bleed, there’s no tumor.’
Now Riley, a former athlete and scholar, has to take to other means to help herself recollect her memory.
The teenager revealed she now carries a notebook, textbook, and pencil with her throughout the day to write down notes to herself because she can’t even ermember where her locker is.
A Medical Mystery: Doctors haven’t been able to diagnose Riley’s (left) condition as tests show no signs of a concussion or bleeding
‘I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like “woah,”‘ Riley says. ‘I’m not making memories. I’m just like really scared’
She also uses her phone to take pictures of everything and set an alarm for every two hours to brush up on any information she may have forgotten.
‘I know it’s hard for them as much as it’s hard for me. And people just don’t understand. It`s like a movie,’ Riley said. ‘Like I will have no recollection of (this interview) come supper time.’
‘I’m not making memories,’ Riley added. ‘And I’m just like really scared.’
While as a temporary solution it seems to be working, Riley’s family fears for her future.
‘My brother passed away last week and she probably has no idea. And we tell her every day but she has no idea about it,’ Sarah said.
Riley’s mother Sarah Horner shared this update on Wednesday saying three months have passed since Riley’s short term memory kicked in
Riley pictured with dad Jason Horner in this social media photo
‘[Doctors] told us that she might just be like this forever. And I am not okay with that,’ Riley’s distraught mother Sarah said.
On Wednesday Sarah shared an update on Riley’s condition on Facebook saying it’s been three months now that she’s suffered from short term memory and is desperate for a cure.
What happened on June 11?
On June 11 Riley Horner, 16,
‘Today marks 3 months of Riley not making memories. In a matter of 24 hours, Riley’s story has went viral. We have a few leads, but most are not local, so we are sifting through trying to find the best options. We would love to hear from Utah and Cognitive FX! I keep going back to them in my head, that they are the best place to try!’ she said.
‘If anyone has any leads on them, please give them our story! Keep sharing her story! I want more than anything for Riley to remember her Junior Homecoming, Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! Waking up Christmas morning, thinking its June 11 just can’t happen! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!’ she said.
Three months following her accident, the Horner family is still actively searching for a proper diagnosis.
Sarah says research shows that six months with short term memory can cause irreversible damage to the brain.
‘We need help. We need somebody that knows a little bit more because she deserves better. I mean she wanted to be in the medical field and now she can’t even hold a job if she wanted to,’ Sarah said.
Riley said she’s coming forward with her harrowing story to reach out to others who might be struggling with similar short term memory symptoms to know they’re not alone.