Champ kickboxer injured in bike fall

WORLD champion Grafton kickboxer John Wyborn woke after spinal surgery yesterday with a message for his family.

“He said he was fine. He said it was a miracle,” John's brother Adam said.

The five-time national kickboxing champion is lucky not to be paralysed after injuring his spine at a South Grafton BMX track on Sunday.

John, 38, was at the park with his two young children when he miscalculated a jump and went over the handlebars of his bike, landing on his head.

The fall fractured vertebrae in John's neck, narrowly avoiding damaging his spinal cord.

John was taken by ambulance to Grafton Base Hospital and was transferred by air to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital early Monday morning.

John underwent a 10-hour surgery on Monday afternoon to correct damage done to vertebrae in his neck.

His father, Ken Wyborn, said yesterday morning that John had been knocked unconscious in the fall and was yet to awake.

He was relieved to learn at 3pm that John had been successfully revived from his medically-induced coma.

“He's just spoken to his brother and he's fine,” Ken said.

After a career in the dangerous sports of boxing and kickboxing, Ken said he wasn't surprised his son had been injured going over a jump.

“He doesn't think of consequences, John. He's been like that since he was 10,” Ken said.

Adam agreed: “He takes risks.”

John's mother, Helen, said the family was overjoyed yesterday to learn that John was okay.

“Everyone at the hospital is amazed he's not a quadriplegic,” she said. “If people had moved him at the park, it would have been much worse.”

She said teenage boys at the park called an ambulance for John. They must have recognised the injury could be spinal, she said, as they didn't move him.

John's third and fourth vertebrae were smashed in the fall and bone from his hip was used to reconstruct them.

John called his brother as soon as he woke up yesterday to tell him he was alright.

He told Adam he was conscious immediately after the accident and was terrified he would be paralysed.

“He said a prayer when he first fell down that he wouldn't be a quadriplegic,” Adam said.

Despite the good news, Ken said the injury would change his son's life.

“He's a lovely boy. It's unbelievable how that could happen,” his father said.

“What I'm worried about is how it will affect him, because he'll never be the same again.”

John retired from professional kickboxing and boxing more than three years ago.

He moved back to Grafton from Sydney last year to be closer to his family and has been working in the family engineering business.

The Wyborn family want to thank Grafton ambulance and hospital staff for all they did for John after the accident. They particularly wanted to thank the teenage boys who came to his aid at the skate park.

John will remain in hospital for the next six weeks. Anyone who wishes to send him a card can send it care of Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.

The family is planning to visit John at the hospital in Sydney next weekend.



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