July 20, 2009

USF kicker Bonani survives 35-foot fall

University of Southern Florida starting kicker Maikon Bonani is hurt but alive from falling 35 feet at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., team officials say.

USF football coach Jim Leavitt said his 20-year-old kicker was hurt in Saturday's fall, which occurred while Bonani was working at the Florida tourist attraction, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported.

He's fine. The main thing here is that he didn't die, said Leavitt, adding Bonani had injured his T12 vertebra in the fall. He isn't paralyzed. The most important thing is his health.

Saturday's accident was confirmed by Busch Gardens officials, but they would not confirm the employee hurt in the incident was Bonani.

The theme park officials said in a statement a 20-year-old employee fell 35 feet after he attempted to check a door on the site's Skyride attraction. The officials said the employee was lifted nearly 50 feet into the air, but managed to fall 35 feet onto the nearby Jungala attraction.

A nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's Hospital told the Times that Bonani was in fair condition following the accident.