This story just makes me so sad, but it also makes me worried for the state of some Hunger Games fans. Tere Parra, a 20-year-old who sounds like she should be in the Games from her name alone, was doing a “mock Hunger Games” runaround with some friends in Utah when she fell out of a tree and got paralyzed from the waist down.
Tere was emulating Katniss Everdeen by scrambling up what looked like a sturdy tree trunk — remember that that’s how Katniss evades the Careers for most of the Games — but one of the branches cracked under her weight and sent her falling twenty feet. The impact snapped her spinal cord, and twenty days later she’s slowly starting physical therapy but also coming to terms with what could be a permanent injury. (Side note: The three different instances of the number 20 in this story is kind of a freaky coincidence.)
Tere, a Mexican citizen who just completed a Mormon mission in LA, was visiting her sister in Utah. I guess they decided to horse around like kids do, but instead of just running and climbing they were playing along with The Hunger Games. I totally get it; as a kid I acted out Star Wars adventures with my friends. It’s just really unfortunate that they were playing along with a book series they like, and then this tragedy happened. Especially since there was at least one adult present: Tere’s English teacher Leah Pettit.
I admit that when I first read that a Hunger Games game had ended with an accident, I assumed it was a younger kid who had stabbed someone by mistake, or something. It’s likely that Tere could have been climbing a tree anyway when the branch broke. Or maybe she thought she was playing Katniss. That’s not for me to say, and obviously Tere has suffered so much already. I just hope that other kids keep a clear delineation between what their favorite characters do in the books and movies, and what they’re actually able to do in real life.