A young New Zealand wakeboarder is in a critical condition in the US following a nasty training accident.
Junior World Champion in Wakeboarding Brad Smeele, originally from Auckland, is due to undergo a second operation after seriously damaging one of the vertebrae in his neck while attempting a trick during training in Florida yesterday, his friend Ricky Faesen Kloet told the Herald.
Mr Faesen Kloet said he had spoken to the injured 27-year-old's mother about her son's condition.
"He's got no feeling from his neck down at the moment," he said.
"He's riding on the pro tour in the States at the moment...and was training in Orlando and he's effectively come up way short in a trick and damaged his C4 vertebra in his back."
He has already undergone one operation and is about to have another one, Mr Faesen Kloet said.
His mother was on her way from Auckland, and planned to be at her son's side when he woke up.
"One of his best friends is flying in from California," he said.
Further details would be available about his friend's condition tomorrow.
Smeele splits his time between New Zealand and the US, spending six months overseas touring during the wakeboarding season, Mr Faesen said.
He left New Zealand in March.
A donation page to help with medical costs for Smeele had been set up at: http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/bradsmeele