‘I thought she was dead’

Campaspe News - - NEWS -

A FREAK ac­ci­dent has left a Ton­gala freestyle rider con­fined to a wheel­chair for the rest of her life.

Christina Vithoulkas, 23, was left paral­ysed from the ribs down af­ter mist­im­ing a jump and crash­ing her mo­tor­bike at a friend’s prop­erty in Barmera in South Aus­tralia on Septem­ber 29.

Fi­ance and fel­low freestyle rider James Wild, who has fam­ily in Rochester, said it was an im­age he would never for­get.

‘‘She came down and hit her head and bent the op­po­site way. She just folded like a taco,’’ he said.

The fall com­pletely sev­ered Christina’s spinal cord.

‘‘I thought she was dead,’’ James said.

‘‘I just started scream­ing at her to wake up. She was un­con­scious for about a minute and a half and un­re­spon­sive for about three min­utes after­wards, but it felt like an hour and a half.

‘‘When she started talk­ing, she told me she couldn’t feel any­thing from her waist down and kept ask­ing me ‘why can’t I feel my legs?’ and ‘why is my back so sore’?’’

Christina was flown by air am­bu­lance to the Royal Ade­laide Hospi­tal where doc­tors dis­cov­ered she also had shat­tered sev­eral ver­te­brae, lac­er­ated her spleen, punc­tured her lungs, bro­ken her ribs and torn sev­eral lig­a­ments in her neck.

A six-and-a-half hour op­er­a­tion saw six screws and two rods in­serted into her back to straighten her spine.

‘‘She’s out of ICU and in her own room now,’’ James said.

De­spite the fact doc­tors told Christina she would never walk again, James said his ‘‘beau­ti­ful and vi­brant’’ fi­ancee was in good spir­its.

Friends and fam­ily are ral­ly­ing around the cou­ple and have set up a crowd­fund­ing page to raise money for med­i­cal, hous­ing and equip­ment costs and other sup­port sys­tems that will help Christina through­out her life.

To do­nate, go to https:/ /www.go­fundme.com/678x96o

James Wild and Christina Vithoulkas in hospi­tal.

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