'Staunch little fella' puts on brave face

By Amy McGillivray

Jodie Carlyle was hanging out the washing when she heard her son cry out.

She expected to hear 8-year-old Marcus' voice again, but instead she was met by silence.

The ringing of the phone cut through her thoughts and her neighbour broke the news Marcus had crashed his motorbike and an ambulance was on its way.

Hearts pounding, she and her husband Mark ran to find their injured son.

They peered down the bank to see Marcus lying amongst the trees with his 50cc motorbike on top of him.

Initially the couple thought the lump they could see on his leg was his broken femur, but on closer inspection they found a large branch, about 8cm in diameter, sticking out of his left thigh.

There were no tears and no noise as shock set in for the three of them.

The tears came later.

Mrs Carlyle described Marcus as a "bit of a tough cookie" and a "pretty staunch little fella" who put on a brave face throughout the ordeal.

She choked up as she recalled the wait for the ambulance.

"He just kept asking if he was going to die. We just reassured him that he wouldn't die. We just reassured him that he was okay that all we had to do was just get him to the hospital and the team would take care of him."

His injuries appeared pretty serious but instinct took over as the Carlyles looked after their youngest child.

"The branch didn't come out the other side but you could actually see it," Mrs Carlyle said. "There was a fist-size of muscle that you could see.

"We just had to keep him comfortable and still. We just covered where the branch had gone in so he couldn't see it and just waited with him."

Firefighters arrived and held Marcus' leg up while they cut through the branch with a battery operated hacksaw.

Paramedics then took him to hospital with the branch still imbedded in his leg.

Doctors operated to remove the branch on Monday night but he was expected to undergo further surgery to clean the wound today.

It is hoped the Bethlehem School student could be back at home on Friday but if a skin graft was deemed necessary he would remain in hospital for the weekend.

Marcus was riding his usual circuit up the driveway of his rural Papamoa home to the neighbour's house, and down their track to the paddock, when the accident happened about 6pm on Monday, Mrs Carlyle said.

He was wearing a helmet at the time.

It seemed he had panicked, slammed on the front brakes, lost control and slid down a bank into a group of large trees, she said.

Marcus was resting in his hospital bed, too tired to stay awake, when the Bay of Plenty Times visited him yesterday.

He was holding up well but had told his parents he was not getting back on his motorbike.

Mrs Carlyle did not want the accident to put her son off riding but said the decision would be his own.

He had only been riding the motorbike for about four months and was still cautious on it, she said.

Tauranga Police Acting Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter said there were no rules about riding motorbikes on private property but he recommended helmets were always worn.

The experience and skill of riders, rather than their age, should also be taken into account, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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