Girl, 16, wakes up thinking each day is June 11 after kicked in head

Real-life Groundhog Day: Girl, 16, wakes up thinking each day is June 11 and her memory ‘resets’ every TWO HOURS after she suffered traumatic brain injury when she was kicked in the head during a dance three months ago

  • Illinois teenager Riley Horner, 16, suffers from short term memory loss and she wakes up thinking each day is June 11 and her memory wipes every two hours 
  • On June 11, 2019 she was kicked in head during a dance at FFA State Convention
  • She was kicked a by a student who was ‘crowd surfing’ during the social dance
  • At first doctors thought she just had a concussion and sent her home 
  • What ensued was over 50 seizures and countless trips to the hospital 
  • Doctors haven’t been able to diagnose her condition as tests show no signs of a concussion or brain bleeding
  • Doctors aren’t sure if she’ll recover. Research shows that having short term memory loss for six months can cause irreparable damage to the brain 

An Illinois teen wakes up every morning believing it’s June 11 after she suffered a traumatic head injury during a dance that makes her memory ‘reset’ every two hours. 

Riley Horner, 16, was out with her friends at a social dance held by the Future Farms of America State Convention on June 11 when she was accidentally kicked in the head by another student who was crowd surfing. 

The Monmouth teen’s doctors first dismissed her head injury as a concussion and she was sent home with crutches. 

But Riley’s family knew something was wrong when she suffered dozens of seizures and required countless follow-up hospital visits. Now the teen struggles to remember what day it is. 

Despite dozens of tests and hospital visits, doctors are clueless as to what’s triggering her memory loss and aren’t sure if she’ll make a full recovery. 

The medical mystery is panicking Riley’s family, who say research shows that extended periods of time of living with short term memory loss can cause irrevocable damage to the brain. 

Illinois teenager Riley Horner, 16, suffers from short term memory loss where she wakes up thinking each day is June 11 and her memory wipes every two hours

On June 11 she was kicked in the head while dancing at the FFA State Convention by a student who was ‘crowd surfing’. At first doctors thought she just had a concussion, but then she suffered dozens of seizures and had to return to the hospital multiple times

‘I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like “woah,”‘ Riley told WQAD.

What happened on June 11?  

On June 11 Illinois teen Riley Horner, 16, was hit in the head while dancing with her friends at the Future Farmers of America Convention

Ever since then she wakes up thinking it’s still June 11

Top headlines for that day included:

  • Donald Trump and Joe Biden hit campaign trail in Iowa 
  • The Golden State Warriors beat the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals Game 5
  • In New York a helicopter crashed into the top of a Manhattan building, killing the pilot
  • Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of missing woman Jennifer Dulos appeared in court to enter a not guilty plea in connection to her disappearance

She says the whole experience is like a surreal movie, not so different from the plot of the 1993 film Groundhog Day where a weatherman is caught in a time loop and wakes up each day only to find it’s Groundhog Day again. 

‘When she wakes up every morning, she thinks it’s June 11th,’ Riley’s mother Sarah Horner said. 

The FFA convention was a three-day event for high school students to attend a college fair, learn about agriculture businesses, participate in a talent show and a social dance. 

Her head injury has left her doctors absolutely puzzled. 

‘They tell us there’s nothing medically wrong,’ Sarah said. ‘They can’t see anything. You can’t see a concussion though on an MRI or a CT scan. There’s no brain bleed, there’s no tumor.’

Now Riley, a former athlete, has to find other ways to help her remember. 

The teenager carries a notebook, textbook, and pencil with her throughout the day to write notes to herself because she can’t even remember where her locker is. 

She also uses her phone to take pictures of everything and sets an alarm for every two hours to brush up on any information she may have forgotten. 

A medical mystery: Doctors haven’t been able to diagnose Riley’s (left) condition as tests show no signs of a concussion or bleeding

‘I have a calendar on my door and I look and it’s September and I’m like “woah,”‘ Riley says. ‘I’m not making memories. I’m just like really scared’. Riley pictured center with siblings

‘I know it’s hard for them [parents] as much as it’s hard for me. And people just don’t understand. It’s like a movie,’ Riley said. ‘Like I will have no recollection of [this interview] come supper time.’ 

‘I’m not making memories,’ Riley added. ‘And I’m just like really scared.’

While taking notes and photos seems to be working, Riley’s family fears for her future.      

‘My brother passed away last week and she probably has no idea. And we tell her every day but she has no idea about it,’ Sarah said. 

‘[Doctors] told us that she might just be like this forever. And I am not okay with that,’ Riley’s distraught mother Sarah said.  

On Wednesday Sarah shared an update on Riley’s condition on Facebook saying it’s been three months now that she’s suffered from short term memory loss and she’s desperate for a cure. 

‘Today marks 3 months of Riley not making memories. In a matter of 24 hours, Riley’s story has went viral. We have a few leads, but most are not local, so we are sifting through trying to find the best options. We would love to hear from Utah and Cognitive FX! I keep going back to them in my head, that they are the best place to try!’ she said. 

‘If anyone has any leads on them, please give them our story! Keep sharing her story! I want more than anything for Riley to remember her Junior Homecoming, Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! Waking up Christmas morning, thinking its June 11 just can’t happen! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!’ she said.  

Three months following her accident, the Horner family is still actively searching for a proper diagnosis. 

Sarah says research shows that six months with short term memory loss can cause irreversible damage to the brain.  

‘We need help. We need somebody that knows a little bit more because she deserves better. I mean she wanted to be in the medical field and now she can’t even hold a job if she wanted to,’ Sarah said. 

Riley said she’s coming forward with her harrowing story to reach out to others who might be struggling with similar short term memory symptoms so they know they’re not alone.   

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