Kath and Chris Dobson want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped their son George after he was concussed at the Cambridge pump track.
“Thank God the right people were there at the right time,” Kath said. “We are so grateful to them, and we feel extremely lucky to live in such a supportive, caring community.”
Just before the incident George, 14, had borrowed a helmet from Cambridge Stihl Shop co-owner Rod Weinberg.
“While I was driving George to the track, we realised he’d forgotten his helmet,” Kath said. “We were in a hurry so we ducked into the Stihl Shop and asked Rod if we could borrow one. He lent one without hesitation. We could owe George’s life to him, to be honest.”
Shortly afterwards, while riding at the track, George lost control on a corner and flew off his bike, smashing his head into the asphalt. His borrowed helmet cracked through the shell.
Leo Simmons, a ski patroller trained in first aid who recently returned to New Zealand from Canada, saw the crash happen.
“George was quite high on one of the banked corners when I think maybe he turned his wheel a bit too sharply and he fell from that height to the flat and basically landed on his head,” he said.
He rushed to help George and was the first to reach him, supporting his head in case of spinal injury.
“He was unconscious and breathing heavily through his nose, there was a lot of blood, and he was shaking involuntarily,” Leo said.
Leo praised the actions of Cambridge High School students who supported George, calling an ambulance and helping to track down his parents.
Kath and Chris are “extremely grateful” to Rod, Leo, the students, the paramedics who took George to hospital and everyone else who helped their son.
George, who has no recollection of the accident, suffered a concussion, skinned his check, hurt his knee and broke a front tooth.
“He’s going to need major dental treatment, but he has no broken bones or stitches,” Kath said. “We’re very hopeful that he’ll make a complete, full recovery. He’s a very lucky boy.”
George can’t wait to get back on his bike but is now planning to buy a full-face helmet, which he said would have prevented the damage to his face.
“It’s hard tarmac at the pump track and it’s not forgiving,” he said.
He also wanted to say a “massive thank you” to everyone who helped him.
Kath is now encouraging other parents to get their children trained in first aid. She, Chris and Leo all underlined the importance of wearing the correct safety gear while participating in high-risk sports.
“An accident like this just goes to show how important it is,” Leo said.