A mountain biker from Holmfirth, near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire who was paralysed from the chest down after colliding with a tree, is to appear on the television series Helicopter ER this week.
Bruce Wilson, 56, was mountain biking with his son in dense woodland above Todmorden, West Yorkshire. He was attempting some jumps and travelling towards one when he overshot it and ended up colliding with a tree.
Recalling his incident Bruce said: “I was on my mountain bike and doing jumps with my son. I remember my son telling me to brake for this jump as it was a big gap jump and I thought there was no way I’d have to brake for that. Then I overjumped it. I was too high, too far for the landing ramp and after that my memory is wiped out. “
Due to the remote location of the incident, Yorkshire Air Ambulance dispatched one of its helicopters. As the incident was deep in the forest, the crew was driven from the aircraft by the local Mountain Rescue team to help injured Bruce.
Alarmingly, Bruce couldn’t feel his legs and had sustained other serious injuries; therefore, a decision was made to fly him to Leeds General Infirmary for further assessment and treatment. A crew of Mountain Rescue volunteers and air ambulance medics stretchered him out of the forest to the helicopter which was waiting for half a mile away.
Tests at the hospital revealed that the fall had broken six of Bruce’s vertebrae and permanently damaged his spinal cord. As a result of his injuries, Bruce has been left paralysed from the chest down.
Bruce spent six months in the hospital, most of which was in a specialist spinal unit. He now uses a wheelchair and is trying to find a new house that is accessible to him. Despite his ordeal, he is recovering well.
“I was a firefighter, and it was something I really enjoyed doing, but I’ve lost that now that I’m paralysed. Being in a wheelchair, you don’t realise how difficult it is until it happens to you. I’m just lucky that the emergency teams found me and pulled together to help me through this”, said Bruce.
Speaking of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Bruce said: “As a firefighter, I had attended quite a lot of incidents with the air ambulance. They do a fantastic job. A week before my incident, I was on my way home when I passed a horse-riding incident. I pulled over in my car and their neighbour called me over to help carry the stretcher to the air ambulance. Little did I know that I would be airlifted the following week.”
Bruce’s incident will be broadcast on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance reality television show on Tuesday 18th October at 9pm. The episode also features a motorcyclist’s head-on collision with a car and a champion jockey seriously injured after falling from his horse.