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SK woman thrown from horse released from hospital

South Kitsap resident Crystal Petasek, seen riding her horse Trucker, was injured last month after being thrown off another horse. - Courtesy photo
South Kitsap resident Crystal Petasek, seen riding her horse Trucker, was injured last month after being thrown off another horse.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

South Kitsap resident Crystal Petasek was released from the hospital and is back home recovering from a head injury after a fall nearly a month ago, according to a website updating her progress.

On March 21, Petasek was thrown from a horse she was training and landed on her head, needing emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her brain.

Longtime friend Trina Rhoton, who attended South Kitsap High School with Petasek 20 years ago, was riding with Petasek when the accident occurred.

“She’d ridden the horse at least three times, and the horse was doing real nice, but she started bucking and threw Crystal off,” Rhoton said, explaining that the first time Petasek fell, it was on soft ground. “But when she got back on, the horse took off down our driveway ad she was bucked off again. That time, she did not have a soft landing.”

Rhoton said Petasek, who was not wearing a helmet, landed on her head. And though Petasek wanted to get up, Rhoton saw blood coming out her ear and told her to stay put and wait for an ambulance.

If it hadn’t been for that blood, I might have let her get up,” Rhoton said, admitting that the recent death of actress Natasha Richardson — who died following a fall earlier that week — was “in the back of my mind.”

After medical personnel arrived, Petasek was immediately airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, quick action which Rhoton said likely saved her life. A scan revealed she suffered a skull fracture behind her ear and needed surgery.

Earlier this month, Rhoton said Petasek was expected to be able to come home, but while performing duties in a kitchen setting at the hospital, Petasek reportedly “got dizzy” and remained in the hospital.

Rhoton has been updating the website tracking Petasek’s progress, saying that she was slowly getting stronger. On Tuesday, the website reported that Petasek had been released, and her family was requesting no visitors or calls for at least a couple of days.

Rhoton said Petasek, a lifelong South Kitsap resident and 1988 SKHS graduate, has had and been involved with horses nearly her whole life, and has been involved with the Kitsap Saddle Club in Port Orchard for many years.

She said it is unfortunate that not everyone in the club — including Petasek — typically wears helmets while riding, but that perhaps Petasek’s recent accident might encourage more riders, and the parents of riders, to insist on wearing helmets.

“And just to think more about safety and taking it easy, making sure your horse is ready to go on a trail and not rush,” she said.

For updates on Petasek’s recovery, visit: www.caringbridge.org/visit/crystalpetasek

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