Seven-year-old Izzy Harris suffers from Hay-Wells Syndrome. The disease leaves lesions, scars, and bald patches on her scalp, and she therefore wears a medical headscarf to conceal the gauze on her head.
Despite her medical troubles, Izzy was adventurous enough to approach ‘The Scorpion,’ a roller coaster ride at the Ohio State fair this past Sunday. That’s when things get complicated.
According to NBC, the ride operator told Izzy she could not ride unless she removed her headscarf. Presumably because it would blow off. Her mother, Sarah Springer, tried to explain about her daughter’s medical condition and why she needed to wear the scarf. This, however, only served to further confirm the ride operator’s decision not to let Izzy ride the Scorpion.
From the perspective of the ride operator, the amusement park does not want to be held accountable for any medical complications the ride might induce. However, for little Izzy Harris and her mother, a ride on the Scorpion was a risk she was willing to take.
Yet headscarves and hats can cause problems for roller coasters. According to Jerry Smithson, of Amusement Risk Management, “We had an incident in Miami where a woman wore a scarf on a rollercoaster and it came off and stopped the coaster."
Nevertheless, Smithson concedes, "I don't know why, I can't explain that. They should have been allowed on that [ride]. That shouldn't have been a problem.”
He also reports that all ride operators receive training on the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Smithson has since invited Izzy Harris and her mother to attend the State Fair this Wednesday as guests of Amusements of America.