Courageous 10-year-old saves best friend’s life after scooter accident
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A 10-year-old boy has been hailed for his courageous actions after coming to the aid of his severely injured friend.
Best friends Alfie Ashton and Ethan Knights, from Carlton Colville, were riding their scooters at Kessingland Skate Park when Ethan lost control and fell, banging his head forcefully as he hit the ground.
Alfie soon realised something was very wrong and rushed to take care of his friend.
'I looked over and Ethan wasn't moving, so straight away I went to check if he was okay,' said Alfie.
'He was bleeding and his eyes were rolling into the back of his head, so I dialled 999 and waited with Ethan for the ambulance to arrive. It was the first time I've had to do anything like that in my life.'
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Alfie's mother Nicky Gent, who dropped the boys off at the skate part, added: 'We've been trying to give them more independence so I said 'any problems, give me a call' and left to do some shopping.
'When I noticed Ethan had forgotten his safety gear I decided to head back and drop it off. Before I knew it, Alfie called me and said 'mum, Ethan's not breathing'.
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'The drive felt like the longest journey of my life, but Alfie told me not to worry because he was looking after Ethan and had called for an ambulance. I had no idea he knew what to do in these kinds of situations.'
The impact on his head meant Ethan experienced intense seizures, biting his tongue in the process. Although conscious, he was extremely distressed and unable to see.
Having been dashed to hospital, the swelling on Ethan's head was so bad that he was put in an induced coma, intubated and sent for a CT scan.
Eventually he was placed in intensive care, at which point Ethan's dad Matt arrived after a traumatic two-and-a-half hour drive from Bedfordshire.
'The whole thing was absolutely awful,' said Mr Knights. 'This was the only time Ethan had ever ridden without a helmet and, if we've learnt one thing from the experience, it's the importance of safety.'
Thankfully Ethan has made a full recovery and, despite regaining the confidence to ride his scooter again, he certainly has a different outlook on staying safe.
'I can't remember a lot of what happened so I feel fine about riding again,' he said. 'But I'm always going to wear safety gear from now on!'
Ethan's near-miss has motivated Grant Phillips, manager at Skatebox in Lowestoft, to kick-start a campaign surrounding skate park safety.
Mr Phillips has teamed with the boys to create 'Ride Safe', aimed at increasing awareness among skaters, riders and cyclists about the importance of wearing safety gear.
'What happened to Ethan has really spurred us on,' said Mr Phillips. 'I was speaking to the boys' mums about doing something in their school, but then I thought we might as well spread the campaign message to all schools – to high schools, and schools further afield as well.
'We've called the campaign Ride Safe, simply because it's the last thing we say to people before they leave the store.
'We try and encourage everyone that comes here to be safe and, if someone doesn't wear safety gear, we won't sponsor them.
'The way Alfie reacted is absolutely incredible given his age. He's an absolute star and we'll be nominating him for various awards to try and get him the recognition he deserves.'