Injured motocross rider can walk again after miracle surgery

Chris Lake riding before his accident Picture: A-H Photography

Chris Lake riding before his accident Picture: A-H Photography - Credit: Archant

A motocross rider can walk again after life-changing spinal surgery.

Motocross rider Chris Lake, who broke his neck and back in a freak accident Picture: Simone Morgan

Motocross rider Chris Lake, who broke his neck and back in a freak accident Picture: Simone Morgan - Credit: Archant

An accident in September left Chris Lake, 25, with serious neck and back injuries which could have paralysed him.

“I was at a bike park riding some trails and dirt jumps,” he said. “Towards the end of a trail I went over a small jump and caught the take-off wrong which threw me over the handlebars of my bike causing catastrophic injuries to my neck and back.

“It was a freak accident to be honest. It was one of the smallest jumps you can imagine. I just fell wrong. I’ve had much worse accidents than that I’ve walked away from.

“I heard a crack and instantly was unable to feel anything. My brother ran over and asked if I was okay and my first three words were “call an ambulance” – I would usually be the last person to say that.

Chris Lake, who can walk again after surgery on his broken back and neck Picture: Chris Lake

Chris Lake, who can walk again after surgery on his broken back and neck Picture: Chris Lake - Credit: CHRIS LAKE


You may also want to watch:


“Most of the time I would try and get up and shake it off, however I have watched programs about paramedics and neck/back injuries and how one wrong move can be life changing, so I remained in the exact position I fell in, on my back, until the ambulance arrived.”

Engineering supervisor Mr Lake, from Dersingham, was diagnosed with an unstable fracture of two vertebrae in his neck and a small fracture on three bones in his back.

Most Read

He was transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and due to the severity of the injuries, had to undergo two surgical operations. The first to stabilise the vertebrae accessing from the front of his neck, as there was extreme risk of paralysis due to the nature of the break. The second was a large cut down his spine to add plates and screws to fuse together the vertebrae to allow healing.

Two months later Mr Lake still suffers from restricted movement in his neck and is unable to ride his bikes but is making good progress towards recovery. He even hopes to return to riding towards the end of next year, after having plates removed.

Orthopaedic and spinal surgeon Am Rai in the operating theatre
Picture: Denise Bradley

Orthopaedic and spinal surgeon Am Rai in the operating theatre Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant © 2005

He credits his lucky escape to the exceptional care he received from spinal surgeon Am Rai.

“Mr Rai has saved my life and allowed me to walk again,” he said. “I will forever owe him for what he did, there is no way you can repay somebody in the way that he deserves.

“I was told I’m very lucky to be walking. For that I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am that he was on call that night.”

Mr Rai, 53, has been a consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for 20 years and also set up the London Norwich Spine Clinic in 2003 to give patients with spinal conditions access to the best surgical care.

He said Mr Lake’s case was one of the most complex he had ever seen.

“He broke his neck so at the scene he was paralysed,” he said. “But he had the good sense not to move.

“He had a pattern of injury that’s very rare. I’ve seen a lot of fractures and dislocations but nothing as serious as this.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus