Mother thanks medics after son’s rugby accident


A mother has thanked the air ambulance crew who airlifted her son to hospital after a rugby accident in Kirkby Stephen. Sandra Chappelhow, of Appleby, has praised the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who flew to her son James’s aid.

A mother has thanked the air ambulance crew who airlifted her son to hospital after a rugby accident in Kirkby Stephen.

Sandra Chappelhow, of Appleby, has praised the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who flew to her son James’s aid. He was injured during a game at Upper Eden Rugby Club in Kirkby Stephen on March 1.

The mum-of-two said: “He was hurt during a bad tackle that kind of folded him in half. I usually watch his games, but didn’t go to this one, so when I got the call I rushed to his aid.”

The 15-year-old had no feeling from his neck downwards. The Pride of Cumbria airlifted him to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he spent five days.

Mrs Chappelhow said: “It took a few days for him to get full feeling in his body back so it was a huge worry. It worked in stages, so at first he got the feeling in the top half of his body back and a bit later, the top half of his legs. A day after that, he could feel everything again. They believe his spinal cord had been stretched and this was what caused the numbness.”

James recently made a visit to meet paramedic, Terry Sharpe, who treated him following his accident, at the GNAAS base at Langwathby, near Penrith. He was joined by his mother and twin sister, Hannah.

Mrs Chappelhow said: “It was great to meet Terry again. I only had chance to have a really quick chat with him at the rugby field before they needed to go, so I was pleased we got to say a real thank you.

“I just think the service is amazing and they got there so quickly. I am so grateful. They are an invaluable service and critical in rural areas.”

Speaking of the accident, paramedic Terry Sharpe said: “The people looking after Jack before we got there were doing a brilliant job and did everything they could before our arrival, so a mention must also go to them.”

Now recovered, James has returned to Appleby Grammar School in Battlebarrow, Appleby, this week, where he is studying towards his GCSE’s.

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