Boy who broke neck at gym class is back in school
Alan Ramsay said he was delighted to be reunited with his first-year classmates at Liberton High after almost three months recovering at home.
The 12-year-old, who was in a neck brace for four weeks, is even back taking part in some PE lessons.
His shock accident happened less than a year after Keane Wallis-Bennett was killed by a free-standing wall as she changed for PE at the same school.
Speaking to the Evening News today, Alan said he was glad to be back with his friends – as the long period at home made him “bored”.
Alan has to leave classes five minutes early to avoid being knocked by crowds in the corridor. Teachers have let him have several “buddies”, including his friend Joshua Stevens, who accompany him to classes before the bell rings.
The youngster said: “I got back on the Wednesday after my holidays. It’s good to be back with my pals. It’s been all right, but it was a bit annoying being away from everything at school.
“Now I’m back it’s all right. My friends are OK, they act as if nothing has happened. They ask me what would happen if they slap me in the face.”
The youngster doesn’t remember very much about the February 5 incident, which took place during a game.
Classmates watched in horror as the posts collapsed after Alan jumped up to swing on the two-metre high metal crossbar – briefly knocking him out and causing three serious fractures. His mum Louise ran to the school from her nearby home to find Alan covered in blood with bones sticking out of his mouth and neck.
He said: “A few of them said they heard me screaming, and they were crying. But everyone has been saying that they were the first to get to me, so I don’t know what happened.”
The youngster was in hospital for several days and was unable to eat solid foods for around four weeks after he had metal plates fitted in his jaw.
He said: “I couldn’t eat properly due to the jaw plates, but I could manage skips, quavers and chocolate as it melted in my mouth.
“As soon as I was told I could eat again, I got the crunchiest thing from the chippy.”
Alan, who says his favourite subjects are practical lessons like PE and craft and design, said his friends were supportive during his recovery.
His mum, Louise, 30, said she knew that her son should not have been swinging on the goals.
“But Alan has been punished enough,” she said. “The school has been amazing with setting up meetings. They have been really good, the teachers have been really helpful.
“He had a home school teacher who came out two days a week to help him catch up with schoolwork.
“He’s still quite behind but he’s doing his best to catch up.”
Ms Ramsay, of Claverhouse Drive, Liberton, added: “He’s just really glad, he likes school, it’s just the social aspect. His friends have been really supportive. They go out on their bikes but he has to make sure he’s wearing a helmet. They all understand that he’s still recovering from a broken neck.
“Because he’s young, he’s just bounced right back. We’ve got to remind him sometimes, when he goes out and jumps around.”
After the incident, the city council took “immediate action” and carried out a risk assessment of all gym activities.
The local authority also instructed other schools and community centres to carry out an immediate review of similar equipment.
‘Kink’ found in blood vessel in brain
Alan was initially taken to the Sick Kids hospital, before being transferred to the maxillofacial surgery unit at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
He was kept in overnight for surgery on his jaw, before a radiographer spotted a fracture at the top of Alan’s neck on an X-ray.
Alan was then moved back to the Sick Kids after neurologists found the fractured bone had made a “kink” in a blood vessel in his brain.
He has another appointment with his neurosurgeon in July to check the blood vessel. There is a chance he will be told he is not able to travel on a plane due to the pressure, meaning a family trip to Poland this summer may have to be taken by car rather than by air.
Alan is also waiting to hear from the team at St John’s about an appointment to get plates removed from his jaw.