‘I’m Not Making Memories’: Illinois Teen’s Memory Resets Every 2 Hours — and Doctors Don’t Know Why

An Illinois teenager says her memory has reset every two hours since suffered a traumatic head injury three months ago, and even doctors are baffled over her condition, according to KTLA sister station WQAD in Moline.

Riley Horner of Kirkwood told the station on Monday that she feels a sense of confusion each morning when she awakens.

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

Her mother, Sarah Horner, explained Riley wakes up thinking it is June 11, the day she was accidentally kicked in the head by a student “crowd surfing” during a dance at the FFA State Convention.

Since then, she’s suffered dozens of seizures and visited the hospital countless times. But her symptoms are still a medical mystery.

Horner told WQAD that the first doctor dismissed Riley’s condition as a concussion and sent her home on crutches.

“They tell us there’s nothing medically wrong,” Horner 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.”

But for the past three months, even the simplest things are wiped from Riley’s memory every couple hours. She’s forced to carry every notebook, textbook, and pencil with her throughout the school day because she can’t even remember the location of her locker.

In order to keep up with her coursework, Riley needs to leave herself detailed notes, take photos of them on her phone and sets an alarm for every two hours so she can brush up on what she has forgotten.

Horner told the station her brother passed away last week, and although they repeatedly tell Riley, she can’t remember it.

“I know it’s hard for them 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.”

The injury has changed everything for this former athlete and scholar.

“I’m not making memories,” Riley said. “And I’m just like really scared.”

“(Doctors) told us that she might just be like this forever. And I am not okay with that,” Horner said tearfully.

The family is desperate for a diagnosis before it is too late. Horner said research has shown that at six months with short term memory, it can cause irreversible damage.

“We need help,” she pleaded. “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.”

Riley said she also wants to share her story so that anyone else experiencing similar symptoms knows they are not alone.

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