News

Teen has a head for safety after near-death stack

Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens. Mike Richards

FROM now on I'm a helmet head. That's the verdict from a teenager who almost lost his life on May 25 while skateboarding at high speed down a Gladstone hill.

Matt Bonney, 14, told The Observer his stance on helmets had changed since copping a serious head injury in the accident.

He was travelling down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens when he took a spill.

Matt was in hospital for a time recovering from the injury that left him with two blood clots between his brain and skull and two fractures to the skull.

Matt said the next time he tackled a steep hill, he would be wearing head protection.

He also said he had been blown away by the support of his mates and the Gladstone community.

"Going down hills or on a bike, I would definitely say to people wear a helmet," Matt said. "I was proud of my mates and shocked I got that much support."

Off-duty police officer Mick Newell and wife Katriona discovered Matt at the base of the hill after the accident.

Their quick thinking and the help of two off-duty paramedics also in the area meant Matt had a quick recovery.

While Matt could not cannot recall the moments following his "speed wobbles," he said he remembered waking up in Gladstone Base Hospital some time later.

He was then transferred to Brisbane so medical professionals could get a better understanding of his head injury.

It was there the two blood clots between his brain and skull, and two fractures to the skull, were confirmed.

Matt also has several deep scars as a permanent reminder of the ordeal.

Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens. Contributed

The trauma was made worse by the absence of his parents who were vacationing in Fiji on their first overseas holiday.

While his mum Tammy wonders exactly how much teenagers need to be reminded of what can go wrong, she said her son had learnt his lesson.

"I've nagged him that many times to wear a helmet," she said.

"Hopefully other kids can take something away from his experience and realise how important helmets are."

A Facebook page, No Helmets No Wheels Support for Matt Bonney, was created hours after the accident.

In a strong show of solidarity for their young mate, more than 900 people joined the group, posting photos of themselves wearing helmets.

However, Mrs Bonney questioned whether the page would have long term benefits.

"Do I think it will make teenagers wear helmets? Probably not," she said. "I just don't think they realise that life can change so quickly.

"It does happen and Matt was incredibly lucky."

Mrs Bonney said the biggest learning curve for her son was witnessing other teenagers in hospital who acted as a sombre warning on how life could have easily turned out a lot differently him.

Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
Gladstone teen Matt Bonney speaks of his near-death experience after crashing while skateboarding down the steep hill adjacent to Tondoon Botanic Gardens. Mike Richards

High school friend and neighbour Jaiden Crane, also 14, said he would never risk riding without head gear.

"I would never go anywhere without it," he said.

He also wanted to share the safety message with other Gladstone teens.

"Wear a helmet," he implored.

Mayor Gail Sellers also urged young people to put safety first.

"Skateboarding, scooter riding and freestyle BMX are inherently risky activities," Cr Sellers said.

"That is part of the attraction for young people.

"Council encourages all skate park users to wear protective clothing and a helmet at all times."

Matt has refocused his attention on his family and the future ahead of him.

Now a student at Toolooa High School, the 14-year-old said he was concentrating on studies and aiming for a career in chemical engineering or as a stuntman.

The teenager has promised to save money to pay for the remaining half of the holiday his family was forced to cut short.

Topics:  accident editors picks helmet safety skateboarding



5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau on footy, life and that engagement to netball glamour Maria Tutaia.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

Heaven on a stick - check out Queen of Pops.

FOR many of us, food is life.

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

'Toxic': Man leaves unit with holes in walls, smashed doors

Man charged for causing damage to Gladstone unit.

iPhone and iPad owners need to do this right now

It could stop a hacker controlling your iPhone or iPad

How businesses can cash in on Adani's $16b mega-mine

JOBS COMING: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Adani's Jeyakumar Janakaraj.

Regional suppliers wanted for Carmichael

Local Partners

40% learner drivers fail test in Gladstone, worst in CQ

GLADSTONE learner drivers are less likely to pass their driving tests than those in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay, new statistics show.


New Year New Yard

Win $1000 Bunnings Voucher
Learn More

Toowoomba comedian becomes big hit on The Project

BIG NAME: Toowoomba comedian Damien Power will perform his new show Utopia at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

The Toowoomba comedian is preparing for his most hilarious show yet

Wheels are in motion for Adani's operational hub

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow are both excited following the Adani business meeting.

Businesses expected to hear from Adani today

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Toowoomba comedian becomes big hit on The Project

BIG NAME: Toowoomba comedian Damien Power will perform his new show Utopia at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

The Toowoomba comedian is preparing for his most hilarious show yet

'Allo 'Allo! star Gorden Kaye has died

Gorden Kaye, pictured in Brisbane in 2007, found fame as a cafe owner Rene Artois in the iconic British television series ‘Allo ‘Allo!

ACTOR Gorden Kaye, from BBC comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo!, has died.

Lion roars to straight to No 1 at Aussie box office

Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.

THE Australian-made movie a hit, while Rogue One nears record mark.

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Accusers become accused in tenants from hell story

SPEAKING OUT: Scott Marsen says he doesn't want people to feel sorry for the couple who trashed his home.

Couple whose house was trashed accused of doing the same

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gladstone market's confidence coming back for 2017

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 16.7% to $275,000 in the September quarter.

Region's median house price drops 16.7% to $275,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!