21 June 2023

Skydiving following spinal surgery after accident

Tree surgeon Mitch Crook became trapped under a tree, shattering his pelvis and fracturing his lower spine. Now two years on, he has nearly fully recovered from his injuries and is skydiving on the week of the NHS’s 75th birthday to say thank you for the care given to him.

“I was born and raised in Hambledon near Waterlooville, but I travel across Hampshire and the south coast for work. I’ve been a tree surgeon for eight years, and it was a day like any other in the lead-up to Christmas.

It was 20 December 2020 and I was working up the top of a 50 foot tree when a weaker part snapped, and I fell, becoming trapped under 20 foot of tree.

My work colleagues helped get me free while the emergency services rushed to the scene, including the air ambulance as they had no idea of the damage once the tree was removed.

I was transferred to University Hospital Southampton where scans showed I had shattered my pelvis and fractured my lower spine and left foot.

Immediately I was operated on to pin my spine and then transferred to the F1 major trauma unit.

I spent the next 11 days recovering in hospital.

The therapy teams were amazing, and I had lots of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to aid my recovery.

I was discharged on New Year’s Eve to continue my recovery at home, and I really couldn’t praise the hospital enough. Without a doubt, they saved my life and ensured I could walk again.

Even though I was in hospital over Christmas, the staff couldn’t do enough for me, especially as were in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic so I couldn’t have any visitors.

It took me around six months to heal physically, and longer to come to terms with the accident as everything happened so quickly.

I knew that I had to give back to the NHS for the care I received which is why I am taking on a 15,000 foot skydive for Southampton Hospitals Charity on 9 July, coinciding with the 75 years of the NHS celebrations!”

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