Injured ‘Punkin Chunkin’ producer disappointed show is off, faces long recovery

(CNN)Suzanne Dakessian’s memory of the explosion is hazy. She ran as a large metal plate flew toward where she and other TV crew members were standing.

For a split second, she turned to see where the debris might land. That’s when the plate struck her head.


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“I tried to run and I didn’t make it,” Dakessian said.
The 39-year-old New York television producer nearly died this month on a clear blue Sunday in a Delaware soybean field, where she was chronicling the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin for the Science Channel. The event featured giant air cannons, catapults, trebuchets, slingshots and other devices launching gourds long distances.


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“There’s a piece of bone missing from my head right now,” Dakessian said. “I look in the mirror and see these purple raccoon eyes. Before this accident, my life was easy. My biggest concern was getting to work on time. Now, I struggle putting on a jacket. I struggle zipping a zipper. I struggle opening a sugar packet. Right now everything is very unpredictable but I’m just trying to stay hopeful.”
Dakessian’s family brought a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast to her hospital room in Delaware, which helped chase away the gloom.
“I am thankful to be alive and not have any cognitive issues,” she said. “I’m very appreciative to the doctor that saved my life. Dr. (Leif-Erik) Bohman did emergency surgery that saved my life and he’s the reason why I’m talking to you right now. The doctors are calling me a miracle in that I survived and that I’m verbal and they’re impressed by the progress I’ve made. I am thankful for all of the love and warmth that I got from people in my life that was, I guess, a little unexpected.”

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