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



Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

YOU may not associate Brisbane with a burgeoning art scene, but you’d be mistaken.

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

The Gresham's charm will win you over before your first sip.

THESE are the perfect places to hang this winter.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

UPDATE: Police investigate 'dried blood' at dead man's home

IDENTIFIED: Police have identified the man found dead in a drain at Toolooa on Thursday as Michael Peter Ceremuga.

Police are appealing for assistance after this morning's autopsy.

'Absurd': MP slammed, small coastal township wants out of electorate

REDISTRIBUTION: Flynn MP is under fire as Moore Park Beach residents want out of his electorate.

Submissions made into seven-yearly redistribution changes.

'Future proof': New Calliope school building well received

EXPANSION: Calliope State School principal Jeremy Godden in front of the school's new administration and student building.

THE $6.5-million project designed to bring school into 21st century.

Local Partners

Wall will provide fresh look for CBD

UNITY Bricks project to bring life back into the Gladstone CBD.


Win a $1000

GROCERY GIFT CARD!
Learn More

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

SAMANTHA Armytage has hit back at rumours she’s dating Tom Cruise, following reports the pair had hit it off during an interview on Sunrise.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Gladstone gets cheesy with espresso bar masterclass

CHEESE EXPERT: Special guest Peter Gross shared his knowledge on everything about cheese.

'Something we could do': more food events for region

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!