Gateshead crash survivor: “Lifting my first pint to have a drink has been my favourite physio moment”

“I have been to some dark places, but I can either be in pain doing physio to try and make steps forward or I can be in pain and not be doing anything.”

A MAN from Gateshead has said lifting his first pint of lager to have a drink has been his favourite physio moment following a motorbike crash that left him with life-changing injuries.

Keith Frater was on a ride out with his friend John Hough back in June of this year when the accident happened.

The 48-year-old said: “My motorbike had been rotting in the shed for about six years and I thought it was time to get it back on the road so arranged to meet John and have a ride out but to take it easy and get my confidence back.”

The pair had decided to ride to Stanhope, about an hour’s drive away to enjoy some fish and chips and then head back.

The IT consultant said: “I rode to John’s house, we set off and 10 minutes into the journey the rain began to pour. We took shelter under a bridge for half an hour and then we continued.

“We got around two miles out of Stanhope, and we were on a country road where sheep roam free and aren’t confined to a pen.

“John was in front of me on his bike when we hit a bend in the road. He made it to the bottom, but I didn’t.”

John saw what he believed to be a bird fly past in his motorbike mirror, but it was actually Keith flying from his bike headfirst into a ditch.

Keith said: “I had been involved in a head-on collision coming around the bend and it’s believed I hit the car’s windscreen at about 40mph and then travelled 20 meters into a ditch.

“John tried to call 999 but the signal was rubbish, so he rode out to try and get help.

“I vaguely remember the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) coming. I was unconscious then came around and was given drugs by their critical care team. That’s the last thing I remember.”

GNAAS pilot JJ Smith landed the Guardian of the North II helicopter nearby and doctor Dave Bramley and paramedic Jake Gunn gave medication to Mr Frater and put him in a pelvic binder.

Keith was then flown by GNAAS to James Cook University Hospital where his injuries were found to be catastrophic. He had an open fracture to his left arm and his right-hand wrist had completely detached from the bone.

He also suffered spinal fractures, a bleed on the brain, decompressed eye socket, a ruptured heart, collapsed lung, a lacerated spleen, and a fractured pelvis.

Keith said: “I was in hospital for five weeks before I was discharged and since then I have been working hard on my physio after undergoing operations to have plates and things put in various body parts.

“Every week I am trying to hit a new personal best and walk that little bit further, but it is exhausting.

“Lifting my first pint to have a drink was definitely one of my favourite physio moments.”

Although the 48-year-old says his mental health has been affected since the incident, he continues to make steps forward toward a full recovery.

He said: “I have been to some dark places, but I can either be in pain doing physio to try and make steps forward or I can be in pain and not be doing anything.

“GNAAS is amazing. I wouldn’t have made it without the help of the air ambulance who got me to the hospital in minutes.

“On the same day as my accident, I found out there were also four other motorbike crashes. I was the only one out of the four who survived which is a sobering thought.

“I can see the light, but I just can’t find the tunnel at the minute.”

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