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Reports Show Popular Universal Ride May Cause Blindness and Brain Damage

Hollywood Rip Rockit Traumatic Brain Injury
Credit: Universal

While a lot of people might think of Walt Disney World Resort when they think of Florida theme parks, there is another major resort just down the road. That would be the Universal Orlando Resort, which consists of Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. And, in 2025, it will be home to a fourth theme park — Epic Universe. Walt Disney World Resort has always been at the top of the theme park pyramid, but Universal Orlando is quickly catching up.

epic universe

Credit: Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Related: Major Changes Ahead: Universal Orlando Closing Down Two Iconic Rides

One thing that Universal has over Disney is its thrill rides, mainly roller coasters. Disney has roller coasters, but many of them are relatively tame compared to those at Universal Orlando. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are full of incredible coasters like The Incredible Hulk, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and Velocicoaster.

Universal Orlando Velocicoaster

Credit: Universal

It is one of those roller coasters that allegedly caused a woman to suffer from serious brain damage. And she has the medical records to back it up.

On February 11, 2023, Geriann Clem visited the Universal Orlando Resort with her two daughters. They decided that their first ride of the day would be the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. That would end up being a decision that would forever alter the lives of Geriann, her daughters, and her husband.

hollywood rip ride rockit

Credit: Universal

Related: Here’s What They’re NOT Telling You About Universal Orlando’s Newest Theme Park

In an exclusive interview with CBS News Miami, Geriann said that the ride was so intense that she felt “out of control” as she was “thrown side to side really violently.” When she got off the attraction, her daughters called their father, claiming that Geriann didn’t know their names, she didn’t know where she was, and couldn’t read the signs.

The women got help from a Universal team member, but Clem’s issue was written down as simply a “headache.” The trio went back to the hotel, where Clem became violently ill. Her daughters called 9-1-1 and Clem was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

One month later, Ms. Clem still wasn’t feeling right and went to the hospital near where she lived. And, according to medical documents shared with CBS, the doctors’ concluded that Ms. Clem had experienced a brain injury that caused bleeding in her brain. Months later, she had her brain scanned again.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Universal Orlando

Credit: Discover Universal

The second brain scan confirmed that Ms. Clem had a history of traumatic brain injury and appears to have a permanent traumatic brain injury.

Ms. Clem said that, in the months following her roller coaster injury, she suffered from a number of medical issues. This includes “visual seizures”, double vision, and not being able to completely see an object in front of her. This made it impossible for Ms. Clem to do her job as a graphic designer.

universal studios orlando rip ride rockit

Credit: Jeremy Thompson on Flickr

Last month, the Clem’s filed a lawsuit against the Universal Orlando Resort, claiming that Ms. Clem’s TBI was caused by the injury she suffered on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The lawsuit claims that Universal failed to properly warn guests that their heads “would be shaken and slammed against the headrest.”

Universal has not commented on the lawsuit, nor have they legally responded to the lawsuit filed by the Clem’s.

Do you think the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is too violent? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

3 comments

  1. No it’s not a violent ride. It’s sad the lady has a medical issue, but we all must know that when we go to theme parks, we must read the warning posted signs about the ride and heath issues one might have. They can’t say that Universal didn’t post warnings, , they do and so does Disney. Going on rides is your responsibility to choose if you think you can handle certain ones. This is a typical roller coaster, except for the straight up to the first drop.

    • I’m afraid the lawsuit would be tossed because they clearly have health and injury warnings posted. If not, then this would make them post warnings that say “those with previous brain injuries shouldn’t ride” etc.. because they just didn’t care to read the warnings.. its a rider’s own responsibility not everyone else’s

  2. Don’t they post warnings saying that those with a history of traumatic brain injuries shouldn’t ride? And that would just make them worse or even permanent.

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