British man doesn't blame dog for leaving him paralysed

2019-02-15 13:50
Jeff Sykes and Jess. (Photo: MERCURY PRESS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

Jeff Sykes and Jess. (Photo: MERCURY PRESS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

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An avid skier and outdoor enthusiast was left paralysed in his own garden after a fall damaged his spine.

Jeff Sykes (68), from Huddersfield in England, was a month into his retirement and living an active life, including regular trips to the Alps and mountains in Colorado, when tragedy struck.

One evening in November 2016, the former marketing manager opened the back door of his home, which he shares with his wife, Carol (50), to let out their border terrier, Jess. Jeff tripped and fell, causing life-altering damage to his spinal cord.

Jeff was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent two spinal operations and was later transferred to Pinderfield's General Hospital to start six months of rehabilitation.

"Jess must have pulled me off balance, causing me to fall and I banged my head on the step," Jeff said in his first interview since the accident.

"I realised straight away that I couldn't move my arms or legs.

"When I fell, I was in so much pain I couldn't even shout out for help. I couldn't get any sound out. Carol found me in the garden and called the ambulance."

Doctors told Jeff that he's unlikely ever to walk again.

"I've spent my whole life being active and so to be told that I was unlikely to walk again was very hard for me to cope with.

"It been hard to adjust, but because I'm now disabled it doesn't mean that I'm a different person. I'm still me, I'm just sitting down now.

"Everyone who's helped with my recovery has been amazing and I can't thank my wife and network of friends enough for their support," Jeff says.

"The thing I miss most is taking Jess out for walks. We live in a lovely rural area and I miss being outdoors a lot, and we'd often visit the Lake District together.

"We could never blame the dog – it was just a freak accident. We love her to bits," he adds.

Before his injury, Jeff and Carol, who runs her own cleaning business, went skiing twice a year and regularly visited the gym to keep fit. Jeff even spent a day skiing with British Olympic champion Martin Bell back in 2003 on the slopes of the Colorado Mountains.

Jeff Sykes

Now classed as a tetraplegic, Jeff is cared for at home by Carol, whom he describes as his rock. She's stood by him throughout his ordeal.

Jeff says he'll never give up hope of improving his quality of life.

"I really committed myself to the rehab work and would put the work in, even after my session with my physiotherapist had finished," Jeff said.

"I spent my whole life training, so this was just the same.

"My goal was to walk out of the hospital but that just didn't happen and I felt like I'd let people down," he says.

"But never say never – I keep as positive as I can."

Jeff, Carol and Jess

Source: Magazine Features

Pictures: MERCURY PRESS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

Read more on:    uk  |  bizarre news
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