Yoga teacher breaks her spine after nose diving over front of bike in freak cycling accident

Casey was a keen mountain bike rider, but an accident in April has turned her life upside down (Picture: PA Real Life)

When Casey Newton flew over the handlebars of her bike and landed head first on the path, she knew something bad had happened.

‘I hit the ground headfirst and felt an electric shock all the way down my body. Straightaway, I couldn’t feel my legs,’ she recalled.

The accident caused her to break her spine and now fears she may never walk again.

Her boyfriend of three years Jay Williamson, 28, who works as a semi-professional mountain bike racer and mountain bike coach, could only watch as she fell.

Still recovering at a spinal injuries unit, Casey, 30, said: ‘We had just gone out for the day on our bikes.

‘It was 2pm and we were going along a particular path where there was a slight drop – meaning we had to drop down about a metre. I had done it twice already that day and told Jay I was going for one more drop.’

Jay has stuck by Casey’s side during her recovery (Picture: PA Real Life)
The pair enjoyed being active together, with Casey working as a yoga teacher and Jay as a semi-professional mountain bike racer (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey has not been home since the incident but Jay visits her at the Salisbury treatment centre once a week. (Picture: PA Real Life)

But it was this third attempt that went very wrong.

She added: ‘It’s quite normal to fall off a mountain bike, but this time was different. Jay came running over to me saying I was OK, but I knew I wasn’t. It must have been the way I landed, something wasn’t right.’

Jay called for an ambulance but Casey already had an inkling of how serious her injuries were.

She said: ‘I was writhing in pain. I felt like I was going to die if I had to lie there any longer. I kept telling the paramedics I was lying on a spike. There was something stabbing me in the back. Only now do I realise that it was my broken spine.’

Casey was rushed by air ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, where she was taken for an emergency CT scan.

Casey and Jay were both avid mountain bike racers (Picture: PA Real Life)
The couple had just bought a house together when the incident happened (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey and Jay have been together for three years (Picture: PA Real Life)

A consultant came to talk to her and had devastating news.

Casey said: ‘I remember them saying, “It’s really unlikely that you’ll ever walk again,” and I broke down.’

Next morning, Casey had a seven-hour operation during which eight bolts and two rods were inserted into her back to stabilise her spine.

‘I’ve been slowly recovering ever since,’ she said. ‘I was moved to the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury 11 days after the accident and I haven’t been home since.’

The couple had put an offer on their dream home last December and they couldn’t wait to pick up the keys together when it was ready this summer, but when that moment came, Jay had to go alone.

Casey’s scar along her back after spinal surgery (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey says she will never give up trying to walk (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey has been rehabilitating since the accident in April (Picture: PA Real Life)

Nutritionist Casey said: ‘When I found out that I would likely never walk again, I broke down and told Jay to leave me because I didn’t want to be a burden to him.

‘He said that we would hope for the best but if I never walk again, that I’m still me. He was just glad I was alive, nothing else mattered.

‘At the moment, I’ve been focusing on accepting the fact that I may never walk again. If that’s the case, I’ll have a happy life anyway.’

Now, he is working to adapt their new property for her needs so she can finally come home in a few weeks time.

Casey has struggled to come to terms with the fact that the life she imagined there will be different.

She said: ‘Jay and I made an offer on a house last December and we just got the keys this month.

Casey and Jay’s home will need to be adapted for Casey’s wheelchair (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey is hoping to be discharged by mid-July (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey underwent a seven-hour operation to stabilise her spine (Picture: PA Real Life)
Casey, pictured in here in hospital (Picture: PA Real Life)

‘It was our dream to pick up the keys together and walk through the front door as a couple, but that didn’t happen.

‘We have the keys now, though, and while I’m still in hospital, Jay is adapting it for me to live in once I’m discharged which could be in mid-July. He’s also said that he won’t sleep there overnight until it’s time for me to move in.

‘The support I’ve had from him has been incredible. Everyone has rallied around me, even my parents, who are moving to Cornwall to be closer to me.

‘I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m determined to carry on.

‘I’m going to play adapted sports and spend more time with my family and friends and I’m never ever going to give up trying to walk.’

The couple and Casey’s family are now trying to raise the money to pay for all the equipment she will need.

She said: ‘An adapted exercise bike costs around £15,000 alone and we have so many changes that need making to the house.

‘Also, who knows when or if I’ll be able to work again?

‘It’s a long and expensive road to recovery ahead, as only a limited amount of the equipment and physiotherapy I need are covered by the NHS.

‘My treatment and equipment for my wheelchair will be covered but anything to help with my mobility on the slim chance I might walk again will cost money.’

Vowing to remain positive, Casey insists there are still plenty of exciting things for her to look forward to in the future.

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