‘I thought she was dead’
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.