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Broke neck in mountain bike crash

A teenage mountain biker suffered a broken neck when he crashed on the Fox Street trails yesterday morning, but will make a full recovery.

Tom van Kregten, 15, came to grief at around 10.30am.

“I had come over a rise on the trail when I went off the track and went head-first into a pile of logs,” Tom told The Gisborne Herald from his home this morning.

St John ambulance staff said he suffered a “moderate” neck injury.

“I was able to call my mum (Katrina Duncan) on my cellphone,” Tom said.

“I told her I had had a crash on the bike, and that I had a sore neck.”

His mother raised the alarm, told him to stay where he was and not move his neck around.

“My dog Olive found me first and led Mum and a nurse she called to where I was,” Tom said.

Firefighters went in with a St John ambulance team and they carried the injured youth up the hill to the waiting ECT Rescue Helicopter.

Tom, who turns 16 on Monday, was treated in the emergency department at the hospital and discharged.

“I have a C4 fracture of my neck, which the doctor said was the best possible neck break because I will make a full recovery.”

“I consider myself really lucky and I would like to thank everyone who helped me yesterday — the ambulance officers, the firefighters, and all the other people who came to help.”

Tom was wearing a helmet when it happened.

“I can’t stress the importance of good helmets, good mates and travelling with your phone if you are alone in the outdoors,” said Katrina Duncan.

“I also want parents to remind their kids to check their helmets before every ride, and wear them correctly.

“What happened was very scary but fortunately Tom’s break is stable and he will make a full recovery,” she said.

“A couple of months and he should be good as gold.

“My thanks, too, to the amazing team who helped him.”

Rescue operation: Teenage mountain biker Tom van Kregten will make a full recovery from the neck injury he suffered when he crashed on the Fox Street trails yesterday. The injured youth was carried up the hill to a waiting rescue helicopter, flown to Gisborne Hospital, treated and then discharged. Pictures supplied