UNSAFE: Great American Scream Machine

Associated parks:
None

Friday, May 12, 2006 7:34 PM
Our university took the graduating seniors to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ on 5/6/06. As a roller coaster enthusiast and having never been to six flags, I and my friends were very excited.

The first ride we decided to get on was the Great American Scream Machine. It seemed like a nice rooler coaster to get our day started. After standing in line for around 20-30 minutes we finally got on the ride. I decided to sit in the front car, as I am used to doing so for most roller coasters (as long as the line is not too long).

But within the first 5-7 seconds of the ride , I knew that this was not normal. My head was being banged all over the place and my left ear smashed into the shoulder rest a few times. It felt like someone just smacked me a few times in my ear. As I stepped out of the ride, I was extremely woozy and had pain in my ear. It felt like I just got off a plane ride. Initially I thought this is probably normal since I hadn't been on a roller coaster for a few months and that my ears will open up as the day progresses. To my astonishment, a few of my friends who were sitting behind me came out of the ride with a sprained neck and a banged up head as well.

I continued my day thinking that it was just the air pressure that had led my ear to get clogged up. The remaining roller coasters were fine and I had fun for the rest of the day.

Returning home that I night, with my ear still throbbing and being only able to hear muffled noises when people would talk to me or I would speak, I thought I'll be fine by the time I wake up the next morning. But, since the situation didn't improve the next day, I decided to see a doctor at our university's student health office.

To my absolute horror, they diagnosed me with a ruptured ear drum. So, because of the head banging during the ride, a perforation has developed in my ear drum (which is basically a membrane), as a result of which I have severe hearing impairment, incessant headaches, physical balance issues and overall discomfort.

I feel this would not have happened if Six Flags paid more attention to the safety and comfort of their rides. I hope my ear recovers and that I have not sustained more critical brain damage. Unfortunately, losing half my hearing at 22 isn't my definition of fun.

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Friday, May 12, 2006 7:37 PM
So... you went on an Arrow mega looper at a Six Flags theme park and had the typical experience I hear most anywhere else... Ok... Im guessing you haven't looked into reviews for this coaster or been on any others like this before?

Also guessing you based your name around your first post. If you are serious about being a coaster enthusiast, Id suggest at least checking out some reviews and know what to expect before going on a ride. Sucks you had a bad ride, but then again, alot of people have, on Arrows/vekomas at any park and at Six Flags parks, so its not really anything new to know some people have a painful ride full of headbanging on an Arrow mega looper. *** Edited 5/12/2006 11:47:07 PM UTC by P18***

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Friday, May 12, 2006 7:55 PM
Thanks! I understand coasters can be unsafe. But then again, I just wanted to have some fun with my friends at Six Flags for a day. If there was anything I could do to save my ear from this serious damage, I definitely would have. If the unstable seat holsters were a little better designed/maintained, this would never have happened.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 7:57 PM
You might want to contact http://www.amusementsafety.org and tell them about your problem. LMAO! :)
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Friday, May 12, 2006 8:01 PM
I know GASM is rough, but I don't think it's quite that rough. Many of us here have been on it, and coasters like it, many times without any injury (just not a whole lot of desire to ride it again). Also, before you go around saying *how* the ride should be fixed, or what the problem is, maybe you should study amusement park rides a bit more. In GASM's case, it has less to do with the trains and a lot to do with the track.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 8:23 PM
That's horrible! I hope you heal up soon. I hope you make sure and contact the park, etc., about this. Maybe some sort of big push to get those stupid shoulder bars removed from those big arrow coasters. The lap bars work great on the premier rides...
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Friday, May 12, 2006 8:29 PM
If you haven't filed a complaint to the park, I would suggest you do. While I am certain that you didnt sustain brain damage [thats a strecth], your pain and suffering from should be brought to the park's attention.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 8:59 PM
Ruptured ear drum, yiekes. Heres hoping that it heals, allthough it is certainly an up hill battle (it is in fact the only part of your body that contains cells from all three layers of embryoitic tissue.) The good news though is even if it doesnt grow back is that if that is the only thing that is wrong with you, they will be able to install a hearing aid that will restore your hearing (since your hearing appartus is not injured.) Your balencing issues should be fixed too once either the ear drum or the doctors block the hole.

My question is how in the world did you whack your head that hard to actually rupture your ear drum? Considering all the crazy stuff we do (deep sea diving, high altitude flying) when every once in a while the pressure is depleted and those people dont rupture your ear drum I cant believe an Arrow Headbanger did that. Did something from the headrest penetrate your ear?

Best of luck in your recovery, you shouldnt have recieved any brain dammage (all of your symptoms can be explained by the ear drum rupture) it certainly is not a minor injury. I usually am against sueing the parks for physical injury you most certainly have a case, loosing two senses is most defenatly something one shouldnt expect from riding a roller coaster, good luck.

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Friday, May 12, 2006 9:01 PM
Wouldn't the trains be just as much a problem as the track design?The wheel assemblies on arrow/vekoma coasters <guide & upstops> are loose in order to prevent binding in the curves.

The poor track design is what warrants the poor train design but I never heard of someone rupturing an eardrum on a coaster before....if that were the case I should be deaf & brain damaged by now after riding mind eraser at SFA as many times as I have over the years.

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Friday, May 12, 2006 9:42 PM
I doubt the validity of this post. On one coaster website that I frequent, We have seen our share of these posts.

And always they are dismissed as false.

If on the off chance this is true, Im sorry about your injuries.

Think about the millions of people that have been on this ride, and this is the first example of this in how many years? I doubt this.

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Friday, May 12, 2006 10:57 PM
I was amazed at how rough the ride was when I visited the park a year ago. I thought it was worse than Shockwave at SFGAm, and that's saying something.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:03 PM
I feel that a false post on such a forum is a very strange thing to do. Not quite sure why one would spend time to do something like that or claim that someone else did something like that.

Anyways, like most of the members of this forum, I thoroughly enjoy going on roller coasters and I hope I recover from this accident (and don't have to use hearing aids) so that I can go back to having fun!

My only hope is that someone from Six Flags notices the posting and does something about the ride to prevent future incidents.

Thank you all for the kind wishes! =)

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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:06 PM
I rode it last year for the first time and...

I liked it.

It wasn't nearly as rough as Shockwave at SFGAm was and it was actually a lot of fun. Yeah, it's not as good as Viper out at SFMM, but still, it's a lot of fun!

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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:18 PM
Sorry to be skeptical, but I don't believe I've ever heard of a university "taking" its senior class to an amusement park. That's just one of a few things in that post that don't sound right. Maybe it's just the way it's worded.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:21 PM
Haha...that's exactly what one of my friends said to me a few days ago! But a perforated ear drum unfortunately is not very easy to ignore. I really wish there was some medicine that sealed up ear drums.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:22 PM
http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/class/2006/seniorweb/events.html
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:37 PM
So instead of contacting Six Flags, you are posting on a forum and hoping they notice? It really sounds as if you have no case when you are not willing to contact the company.
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:42 PM
Which bar did you go to Friday night?
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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:46 PM
I'm wondering just how much of this has been embelished to make it "sound good".

A few of your friends "came out of the ride with a sprained neck and a banged up head as well."

University of Pennsylvania eh? Literature major perhaps? (based solely on the seeming literary liscense taken with the descriptions.)

Perhaps Pre Law? Ear damage, banged up head, sprained neck... I see a future as an "ambulance chasing" attorney.

Just please tell me you are not an English major or an education major... "having never been to six flags, I and my friends were very excited" (Capitalization of Six Flags missing... "My friends and I", not "I and my friends") I won't even go into "rooler coaster"

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Friday, May 12, 2006 11:54 PM
Im sorry to hear about your injuries man.

What a disgrace though, Steel Phantom would never have done such a thing but now its gone and this POS still lives. What a shame that such a ride gets to exist but the Steel Phantom had to pay the piper for much lesser effects on riders. Wow.

Anyway, hope you heal up.

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