Teen Critically Injured After Bison Throws Her 15 Feet Into the Air, Severing an Artery

by Amy Myers

A sunny hike through a South Dakota state park turned into a nightmare situation when a bison threw 19-year-old tourist 15 feet in the air and severed her femoral artery. Now recovering in a local hospital, the teen just barely escaped death.

The day began innocently enough. Amelia “Mia” Dean, her dog and a friend were on day two of their cross-country road trip, and they decided to make Custer State Park their next destination. It was an incredibly sunny and hot day, and the two bipedal travelers had donated their water to their panting pup. After about an hour later, they came over a hill along the trail and spotted a bison in the distance.

“They came over a hill and saw down in the dip, quite a way ahead of them, they saw a big, male bison,” her father Matthew Dean told ABC and Fox affiliate Dakota News Now

They considered doubling back, but the two tourists recognized that they were becoming fairly dehydrated, so they kept on the path.

Unfortunately, they seemed to travel too close for the wild bovine’s comfort.

According to Mia’s mother, Jacqueline Dean, “suddenly the bison looked up. They were over 100 yards away and the bison just ran down the hill at her. It came right up and stopped in front of her and then apparently, they had a bit of eye contact for a few seconds.”

Stunned, Mia stood so close to the bison that she could touch its forehead. After intensely surveying the human before him, the bison charged, driving its massive horn through her thigh and then throwing her high into the air.

Teen Traveler Sustained Severed Femoral Artery From Bison Encounter

“I remember feeling the pressure on my hip,” Mia shared from her hospital bed. “My hip being pushed back and I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels.”

“The bison stuck around and his hooves were right over my head. I remember them being like right by my head,” she added.

Mia has spent seven weeks at the hospital, receiving treatment for her severed femoral artery and damaged tibial and peroneal nerves. The injuries have left the 19-year-old with a paralyzed leg from the knee down.

Of course, Mia’s parents are just happy their daughter survived the horrific bison encounter.

“We are beyond fortunate that our daughter is still breathing, as she should have bled out in 2-8 minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn’t arrive for 20 minutes. It is a miracle that she is alive today,” they said.

Now, the Dean family faces another battle – the hospital bill. They’ve now launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for Mia’s ongoing treatments.

“We have no idea why this happened to our little girl, and simply wish for her to be able to walk and dance again and live her life to the full, without chronic long-term pain,” her parents wrote on the campaign page.