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August 13, 2012

Stage collapse, one year later

Local family recalls the stage collapse that made national headlines

One year ago today, Lisa Hite and her 8-year-old granddaughter Kyla were standing underneath a beautiful blue sky, inches from the Indiana State Fair stage where one of Kyla’s favorite bands, Sugarland, was about to perform.

In an instant, the skies filled with clouds and winds began to pick up. Now, the two Logansport residents are still dealing with the emotional and physical scars left behind after the stage collapsed, injuring more than 40 people and killing seven.

As she sits with her knee propped up on the couch because of a knee surgery performed last week, Hite explains that last year she and Kyla were in the “Sugar Pit” by the stage area when she saw a stage banner overhead fall toward the crowd.

As she watched, she felt something strike her on the back and a burning sensation in her legs as she was knocked down. Kyla lay nearby, facedown in the sand.

The next thing she remembers, they were being taken to the triage area for treatment.

But she and Kyla can’t remember the pieces in between.

“I think it’s better that we don’t remember,” Hite said.

The stage collapsed on both of them and as a result, both she and Kyla received concussions and head lacerations. Hite also received injuries to her right foot and knee and had to undergo surgeries for both.

But it’s the emotional damage that’s harder to deal with, Hite said.

Both she and Kyla suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and Hite said Kyla has lasting fears from the stage collapse.

“She gets scared when it storms and she doesn’t like sleeping by herself,” Hite said. “But it’s getting better.”

Hite said the winter was the hardest for her, because she could not walk as a result of her injuries and thus could not work. Much of her time was spent reflecting on the people who had died around her, she said.

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