NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- It was a freak accident, but one that will likely have life-long affects. A five-year-old girl from North Topsail Beach fell with a sharp ponytail holder in her hair. She now has traumatic brain damage.
Something so small has made such a huge impact on the Bartlett family. Five-year-old Mya Joy was wearing a cubed-shaped Hello Kitty on the day of the accident and now her life will likely never be the same.
"I wish I never put the pony-tail holder in her head that day," Mya Joy's mother Tristen Bartlett said. "That is the most frustrating thing; that this accident could have been prevented, and not only could have been prevented, but should have been prevented."
Three months ago, Mya Joy was sitting on a soccer ball watching her sister Kyra play.
"I was kicking the ball, and then I was still kicking it and then I just fell backwards," Mya Joy said.
She had two types of ponytail holders in her hair at the time. Her mom says doctors confirmed the sharp edges of the cube-shaped holder caused the injury. Mya Joy was airlifted to Greenville, got 49 staples and now suffers from traumatic brain damage.
"(Mya Joy) just could not sit still enough to go to the bathroom," Tristen said. "That was the first thing we noticed: her focus and attention-ability. Her frustration levels have changed, her food tastes have changed. "The biggest concern that we have is we won't know the full extent of the injury until she's a teenager because that's when the brain does most of the development. And when we were told that, it was heartbreaking to think that all of this occurred from just a pony-tail holder."
Tristen says one of Mya Joy's doctors was so adamant about getting the ponytail holder recalled, he wrote a complaint to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. That sparked an investigation, but so far the ponytail holder is still on the market. Mya Joy says she hopes other kids will not wear this kind of accessory in the future.
"They might fall on their head, and they might hurt their head like I did," she said.
The Bartlett family has been cooking all day to get ready for their fundraiser this weekend. They're having a bake sale, giving away T-shirts, but most importantly, they're going to be raising awareness about traumatic brain injuries. The bake sale is Saturday at the Food Lion in Sneads Ferry. Also on Saturday, Ci-Ci's Pizza will donate 20 percent of its profits to TBI if you mention the Light of Joy Awareness fundraiser. For more information, visit www.LightofJoyAwareness.com.