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.

The 24 stitches Matt Bonney received after a nasty fall from his skateboard in May.
The 24 stitches Matt Bonney received after a nasty fall from his skateboard in May. 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 has several deep scars after a skateboard accident.
Gladstone teen Matt Bonney has several deep scars after a skateboard accident. 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



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Top 10 cheapest houses on the market in the Gladstone region

98 Dalrymple Drive Toolooa

A LIST of Gladstone's best, cheapest houses

'He can see!' Mum's tears as boy fights Taipan bite

Eli Campbell, 2, is recovering at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital after he was bitten by a taipan three times at Agnes Water.

Todder bitten by a snake can now see, talk and walk.

Local Partners

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Family scoop bargain $160K 'holiday home' in Gladstone

BARGAIN: A Biloela family has purchased 21 Ann St for $160,000. They try to get to Gladstone at least once a month.

ADVERTISED as "renovate or demolish", but snapped up for getaway.

REVEALED: Gladstone property prices hit lowest in downturn

Aerial View overlooking Kin Kora residential area, Gladstone.



Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer

GLADSTONE PROPERTY prices have hit their lowest since the bust.

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!