A Halloween horror: Student’s encounter with bats leaves lasting impact


Santiago Madrigal

Mia McCloskey faced a long road to recovery after her run-in with a bat.

Caroline Wilson, Staff Writer

Just in time for Halloween, Tomball High School senior Mia McCloskey has a story to tell. On one Fourth of July night, 2021, under the radiance of bursting fireworks and shimmering lights, McCloskey was riding on her Vespa, when it was abruptly interrupted by the confused flight of a bat. What she didn’t know then, but is intimately aware of now, is that the night of this incident would leave her with months of pain and a lifetime of recovery.

“Out of nowhere a bat – the animal – hit me on the neck,” Mia said. “I tumbled off my bike and skidded across the pavement.”
After the incident, McCloskey was unaware of any lasting damage, only the initial pain of the crash along with the scuffs on her scooter.

“I didn’t think anything was wrong,” McCloskey said, “Then, a couple of months later, the day of Thanksgiving, I wanted to try out the new Peloton.”
Excited and enthusiastic about the family’s new machine, McCloskey worked on the Peloton for the equivalent of a 10-mile bike ride.

“It was very stupid of me,” McCloskey said. “The next morning, I woke up, and I could not walk.”
For the next few days, McCloskey was bedridden, unable to return to school.

“We consulted multiple doctors,” McCloskey said. “After multiple attempts, we finally found a doctor that would listen.”
After many x-rays and examinations, it was determined that a disc in her spine had ruptured, and spinal fluid had spread throughout her back.

“After that, we tried a few things,” McCloskey said. “First, we tried a lumbar injection. After working initially, I began to relapse into worse pain than before.”
After her second injection, it became clear that more extreme treatment was necessary for Mia. In March of 2021, she was encouraged to get a microdiscectomy surgery.

“Essentially what it is, is an inch-long incision near the affected vertebrae,” McCloskey said. “They chip away some of the bone near the disc, and then the disc is cauterized.”
Finally, in April 2021, after about a week of post-op, McCloskey could walk on her own once again.

During her injury, Mia was unable to attend school. Because of this, she had to overcome obstacles and learn hard lessons.
“It taught me a lot about responsibility,” McCloskey said. “I had to teach myself for the entirety of the year, It taught me the importance of relying on others.”
Now, in the new year, as October begins and Halloween approaches, McCloskey has surprisingly formed an emotional connection to the cause of her injury, bats.

“I actually love bats more than ever now,” McCloskey said. “When I had my surgery, my mom actually got me a stuffed bat which I adore.”
She hasn’t let her pain get in her way of her love for animals, the animal.

“Even though it kind of ruined my junior year, I still love bats,” McCloskey. “It wasn’t his fault. He was just confused.” McCloskey has always enjoyed Halloween but is particularly thrilled for the start of the season after her encounter.