In Wake of Bridge Fall, Aggie Remembers Own Painful Experience

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

It's becoming a dangerous fad within the Texas A&M community.

Students experiencing a so-called rush while lying underneath the train tracks on the Brazos River Bridge.

However, this is not the first time the thrill has ended tragically.

Last year, Amber Penn fell and survived. Now she is telling others that the risk is not worth the injury.

Penn says she was like a lot of college students, adventurous.

"It's just one of those things everyone had done so we went," Penn said.

Amber was a senior at Texas A&M when she decided she needed to experience one last thing before leaving college.
That last thing was the Brazos River Bridge on Highway 21.

However, the need for an adrenaline rush turned tragic within seconds

"I took one step and I was taking the next step to get onto the concrete platform, and the next thing I knew I hit my head and was flipping," Penn said.

An hour after Amber fell on the banks below she was air-lifted to Scott and White in Temple with severe spine and leg injuries.

"The day I got out of surgery, they told me that I would never walk again," Penn said. "Those are hard words to hear as a 20- year-old, but I didn't take that as I would never walk."

Just over a year later, Amber has beaten the odds, but the emotional pain has not gone away.

This week, memories reemerged when she heard Aggie freshman Betsy Helbing had fallen off of the same bridge.

"I didn't really want to believe it had happened," Penn said. "I cried and cried aching for her and her family. I called my parents and they just cried knowing how they felt."

Amber has offered Betsy words of encouragement and says she will use her painful past to help others.

"You are not guaranteed tomorrow and even things that sound fun, just examine whether or not they could be dangerous and if so just not to take the risk because it's just not worth it."

Amber hopes this Texas A&M fad fades away.


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