Rhys Wood has support in Canada after being injured in a snowboarding accident.
Rhys Wood has support in Canada after being injured in a snowboarding accident. contributed

Critically injured: Family's bid to bring Rhys back home

RHYS Wood is a fun, outgoing, full-of-life kind of guy, according to his sister Tegan Skopp. And his positive outlook on life will help him overcome the challenge of being told he will never walk again.

Mrs Skopp was devastated to hear that her "little brother" had been critically injured.

The 24-year-old Clermont man, an experienced snowboarder, was involved in a freak snowboarding accident in Canada on Friday. He is being treated for his injuries in a Vancouver hospital.

"He fractured his c5 and c6 vertebrae and severed his spinal cord," Mrs Skopp said. "He has some cracked ribs and a punctured lung. They have also found a clot somewhere in his neck but they aren't risking taking the neck brace off just yet, so they have given him some medication to try to help get rid of it.

"At this stage he will be on his back for four weeks before they can look at moving him."

The family has been told Mr Wood will never walk again.

"He has no feeling in his legs at all," Mrs Skopp said. "It would take a miracle."

Mr Wood underwent eight hours of surgery yesterday to stabilise his back and has since contracted pneumonia.

"He can't talk because of the breathing tube but he's able to communicate with pen and paper," she said.

Some good news for the family was that Mr Wood had no major head trauma and has complete function of his upper body.

 

INJURED: Clermont man, Rhys Wood, 24 was injured in a snow boarding accident in Canada. A Go Fund Me page has been started to raise money to bring him back to Australia.
INJURED: Clermont man, Rhys Wood, 24 was injured in a snow boarding accident in Canada. A Go Fund Me page has been started to raise money to bring him back to Australia. Contributed

Mr Wood's parents were notified of the accident early Saturday morning and left their Clermont home the next day to travel to Canada to be by their son's bedside. Mr Wood had been on a two-year working holiday and was expected back home next week for a 10-day visit before heading back to Canada.

Mrs Skopp said she hadn't seen her brother for almost two years and it was devastating she couldn't be by his side now.

Since the accident the Clermont community and friends of Mr Wood in Canada have been supporting the family and Mr Wood with good wishes.

"My phone has been ringing constantly and some of the people are complete strangers - I don't know what to say to them but thank you, and we mean that from the bottom of our hearts," she said.

A Gofundme page has been organised to help with Mr Wood's medical and travel costs. Mrs Skopp has been overwhelmed by the support the page has received - over $15,000 was raised in two days.

She said the money would be used to help Mr Wood home and for future treatments in Brisbane and alterations to the family home to accommodate wheelchair access.

 

For information on Mr Wood's condition or to donate visit www.gofundme.com/bringing-rhys- home



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