Mishap leaves Swedish teen gymnast paralysed

A 17-year-old boy was left potentially paralysed following a training accident at a gymnastics camp in southwestern Sweden on Tuesday afternoon.

Mishap leaves Swedish teen gymnast paralysed
The gym pictured here is not the gym mentioned in the article

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 was knocked unconscious following the accident, which may have also caused partial paralysis.

“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.

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Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.