Miami junior Daniel McClary is recovering from a severe head injury after a 15-foot fall onto the cement floor of Brick Street Bar early Wednesday.
McClary, of West Chester, Ohio, was celebrating his 21st birthday at Skybox, the second-story level of Brick Street, when he toppled over the railing just before closing at 2 a.m. Bartenders told police he had "purchased large amounts of shots."
Oxford Police Sgt. Jon Varley said McClary's tumble sent him five feet out from the bar's upper level before he plunged to the floor.
McClary, 6'1" and 250 pounds, fell on a female Miami student who was walking down the stairs toward the dance floor. The female, who is underage, asked to remain anonymous to protect her job at the university.
"I just remember my head hit the ground really hard, and I opened my eyes and I was on the floor," she said.
Since the incident, she has experienced soreness in her neck and back and visited a doctor to check for a concussion.
She said a friend pushed McClary's legs off of her so she could get up, and when she did, she looked down and saw him for the first time.
"We honestly thought he was dead," she said. "I was immediately just like shocked. We saw him and we were all really terrified."
Because it was late, the bar was mostly empty, she said. Only a few people - some customers, others employees - saw McClary on the floor.
Varley said McClary was found "lying face down in a pool of blood on the cement floor." The officer on the scene, Matthew Hatfield, saw a large cut on McClary's forehead and later saw that his teeth were chipped.
McClary was taken to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, then by intensive-care ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Clifton, where he was released Thursday afternoon.
He was admitted with bleeding in the brain, said his mother, Beth McClary, but that has since begun to ease. He sustained multiple fractures to his face, which are impairing his vision, and his teeth will require serious repair.
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"He took the entire blow on his face," Beth McClary said.
He also has deep facial lacerations that extend from above his eyebrow to the top of his head.
"We watched his open skull for about eight hours," she said.
Brick Street employees told police McClary was briefly unconscious, but was able to hold a conversation after Oxford EMS arrived.
"Well obviously I got way too drunk and fell over the rail … knocked out my teeth," McClary told police as he regained consciousness. "I broke my neck in high school, just hope I didn't break it again."
McClary's mother confirmed that he had an accident in high school that required titanium pins in his neck. The neurosurgeons informed McClary's parents that those pins protected his spinal cord during the fall and prevented him from further injury.
Beth McClary said her son is home now, but in a great deal of pain. He has to avoid light and noise.
She is consulting her medical insurance provider to determine whether Brick Street is liable for any of McClary's injuries.
Mark and Will Weisman, owners of Brick Street, had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Beth McClary said her son is determined to return to school for the fall semester, and doctors think he can be back on campus in two weeks.