Mishap leaves Swedish teen gymnast paralysed
TT/Vivian Tse · 5 Jan 2011, 12:40
Published: 05 Jan 2011 12:40 GMT+01:00
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The elite-level teenage gymnast from the Stockholm area landed on his head after a somersault on a trampoline at the Lingvallen athletic facility in Ängelholm at noon.
"He had an operation last night and is breathing on his own. He was on a respirator yesterday," Pia Holm, an official at the Skåne Gymnastics Federation (Gymnastikförbundet Syd) told The Local on Wednesday.
She said that his parents have spoken to him but want him to rest for a few more hours or days. Holm acknowledged that he was partially paralysed, but did not know of its severity.
"Doctors cannot say anything about a possible paralysis injury for another two or three days when the swelling goes down. He is conscious, but was placed on a ventilator for security reasons," said Rickard Gustafsson, the coach of the boy's club and a board member of the YMCA Gymnasts.
The boy was operated on Tuesday evening at Skåne University Hospital's trauma centre in Lund 80 kilometres away.
"He had an x-ray and after seeing the slides, the doctors decided to operate on him immediately," said Gustafsson, the coach and a board member of the YMCA Gymnasts.
The athlete participates in TeamGym, a sport that originated in Scandinavia in the early 1970's. At the time of the accident, he was performing routine on a trampette, a small square trampoline and one of the three TeamGym disciplines.
"He was doing a double somersault, he's been doing them for eight years. He can do a triple somersault with a twist. He overrotated on the double. Somewhere in the air, he got lost, we don't know what happened. He landed on two mats facedown," explained Holm.
The boy was originally taken to the hospital in Helsingborg before being driven to the Skåne University Hospital in Lund because of the severity of the injury.
He has regained consciousness, but his back and neck remain immobile in a cast in order to not aggravate the injury.
"He is a very talented guy who has won medals at the Swedish junior championships and also participated in the Swedish senior championships," said Gustafsson.
The downcast mood at the gymnastic camp following the accident was palpable.
"We are concentrating on taking care of those who are still here. This is obviously terrible for everyone involved," Holm told newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad online on Tuesday.