Praise for quick-thinking duo who saved teenager’s life after he suffered horrific injuries in fall

PUBLISHED: 08:16 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:16 11 October 2017

Harvey, Julie, Scarlett, Grady, and dad Stuart Russell.

Harvey, Julie, Scarlett, Grady, and dad Stuart Russell.


A teenage BMX rider is recovering in hospital after suffering a potentially fatal accident in a fall at ramps in St Ives.

Grady Russell, 14, smashed every bone in his face, suffered a bleed on the brain and crushed two vertebrae in the incident which led to him undergoing five hours of surgery.

The St Ivo pupil has had six metal plates inserted in his face, was put in an induced coma for two days and was treated in intensive care - but the super-fit youngster could be released from hospital this week after making a remarkable recovery following the fall a fortnight ago.

Now his family are urging all BMX riders to make sure they are wearing crash helmets - as Grady was - because they are convinced it prevented the accident becoming fatal.

They also praised the quick-thinking of two other boys at the Hill Rise ramps who raised the alarm, probably saving his life in the process.

Mum Julie Russell said the boys were able to get Grady’s fingerprint so they could use his phone to call her and also rang for an ambulance.

Mrs Russell, 44, husband Stuart, 52, and Grady’s brother Harvey, 16, who live in nearby Virginia Way, arrived at the park to find Grady, who was drenched in blood, being treated by a paramedic.

She said Grady, a keen BMX rider, had fallen 10 feet from a ramp and landed on his face.

“Luckily, he was wearing his helmet - although he didn’t have the straps done up because it doesn’t look cool - and without that his injuries could have been a lot worse,” she said.

“The doctors have said that his head injury would have been far worse if he was not wearing one.”

Mrs Russell said they had been able to trace the other boys who went to Grady’s aid and had thanked their parents, but would like to meet them face-to-face to thank them for what they did.

She said the incident must have been traumatic for the boys but they reacted quickly to unlock Grady’s phone and call for help.

“I would like to thank the two boys who thought really quickly to get my son’s phone and get his fingerprint to call me and then call an ambulance,” she said. “Through their quick thinking it has probably saved my son’s life.”

Mrs Russell said: “There was blood everywhere and his face was an absolute mess. Grady was calling out ‘Am I dying? Am I dying?’”

She said Grady was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital and then transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

The teenager underwent surgery after fracturing his eye sockets, cheekbones and his nose. He had also split the roof of his mouth and both his upper and lower jaws.

He had damaged his teeth, bitten through his chin, injured his lip and suffered two crushed vertebrae.

Mrs Russell said Grady had also suffered a bleed to his brain.

“He has been extremely brave, he must have been in a lot of pain,” she said.

Mrs Russell said her son, who is 6ft 2in tall, was “super, super-fit” because of his constant BMX riding and that this had helped him with his recovery, although he still had a long way to go and would need further treatment.

She said: “The message we want to get across is the importance of wearing a helmet.

“I think if Grady hadn’t had a helmet on he would not be here now.”

Mrs Russell said it would be nice if the council could put up some advisory signs about the importance of wearing a helmet when using the ramps.

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said: The council takes safety very seriously and we have signs to promote safety at the skate park in Hill Rise and all parks managed by the district council.

“We are very concerned to hear of this accident and wish Grady a full and speedy recovery.”

The spokesman added: “We are happy to work with his parents to raise awareness of wearing helmets which do save lives.”

Mrs Russell said that Grady, who has a sister Scarlett who was away at university, wanted to resume his BMX riding but had been advised by doctors that if he did, he would have to wear a full-face protective mask.

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