The family of a 26-year-old Limavady man who may never walk again after a crash at a dirt-bike track in Magilligan are hoping he makes a full recovery.
Dean Doherty suffered serious spinal injuries when he came off a scrambler motorcycle at a motocross at Bellarena on Sunday afternoon.
He was airlifted by the Irish Coastguard to George Best Airport from where he was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for surgery.
Dean’s twin brother, Aidan, stayed by his brother’s side until they arrived at the hospital. He said: “They told Dean he might not walk again. He said to me ‘Aidan, I’m lucky to be alive’. He always thought positive and he still does. He is young, he is big and strong and if there is a chance for him to recover he is just going to do whatever it takes. If there’s hope, Dean is going to do what he has to.
“He will have a hard four or five years ahead of him with the recovery, whether he is ever able to walk again or not.
“I think they were talking about taking him to Scotland at the start, when he was in the helicopter but they rang the Royal and told them to get
ready for him.
“He is awake now and he is able to talk but he is so full of the painkillers and everything he’s not really awake properly. It’s probably going to be a day or two.”
Dean also praised the emergency services. He said: “Fair play to the ambulance men. They did everything they could for him. They couldn’t get him back up the lane out of the place because it was too bumpy - there was no way they were going to risk making it any worse. They called for the coastguard and they got him in
“When we were in the hospital, I said to them to just tell him straight. I said ‘the man needs to know’. He said ‘Dean, you’re not going to be able to walk again’. He just sort of took it the way it came. He was taken for surgery at about 9.30 in the
morning and he would have been in theatre until about four o’clock, or shortly after.
“The surgeon came out yesterday and spoke to the whole family. After what she said there is some light at the end of the tunnel but it is going to take four or five years and he still might not be able to walk.
“We all hope he will pull himself through it. I am looking at the bike now and it is in bits. All we can do now is say a wee prayer and hope he makes a good recovery. We’re all going to support him no
Aidan also thanked all Dean’s friends who have wished him well since the accident on Sunday.