Pictured: Moment biker Ian Morrell walks again for first time since horror crash
This is the emotional moment when a motorbike racer who was almost killed in a 130mph smash walked for the first time since his accident.
Portstewart rider Ian Morrell “died” at the scene when he crashed at the Kells course five weeks ago.
But hero track medic Dr John Hinds spent 45 minutes resuscitating him before Ian was airlifted to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Dr Hinds, who campaigned for a dedicated helicopter for medical emergencies in Northern Ireland, was sadly killed himself just two weeks later.
Now, after defying doctors who told him it would be weeks before he would walk, Ian has been able to take the eight steps from his hospital bed to the sink and back.
“The physios expected him to maybe have managed to get out of the bed but not to do a few steps,” said wife Michelle.
“Ian can’t get himself out of bed so this special machine helps him and the hoist pulls him up.
“When he did it for the first time, I was in tears.
“I was just so proud of him because I knew how big an achievement it was.”
Ian’s miraculous recovery earned him the news he had been longing for on Tuesday — he was being transferred to Londonderry’s Altnagelvin Hospital.
Sunday Life today publishes the heartwarming first picture of Ian’s reunion with his three children after 32 difficult days.
Michelle said: “Ella, Mia and Ollie are all so close to their daddy and they hadn’t seen him in so long so there were a lot of excitement in our house.
“It was beginning to affect my wee boy that he couldn’t see Ian, so every day he kept saying that he wanted his daddy but now he knows he’s only a phone call away, and although Altnagelvin is not that close to us, they know he’s now much closer to home if they ever do need him.
“I think it helps Ian to know that they’re missing him, because he wants to get better to come home to them, even if we don’t know when that is.”
Ian crashed at one of the most dangerous parts of the Kells course after his knee clipped some grass and he was flung into a wall, breaking almost every bone in his body and severely damaging his lungs.
Michelle said: “A lot of people didn’t know the extent of Ian’s injuries and it was funny because Ian said to me ‘how did they not know? I was dead twice before Dr John brought me back!’
“He calls himself the hardest man — or the luckiest man — in Portstewart, depending on what way you look at it.
“He’s making a joke of it now but I think it has scared him a bit and he’s just so grateful that he has been given a second chance at things.”
She added: “He’s been getting on really well with the physio and he’s been proud of what he’s done.
“When he started it, he was sweating and finding it difficult but the last one he had he found it a bit easier so he has been told that if he keeps going the way he is going then they’re hoping he will be able to stay in a facility closer to home.
“It’s mainly physiotherapy and rehab that he needs now and being at Altnagelvin seems to have made him a lot more content, just being that bit closer to home.
“He knows that he will walk again but he’s been having a bit of bother with his arm, so that’s what needs looked at next.
“He has to go back to Beaumont to see the neurologist to see if they can get to the bottom of it — they want to check to see if it’s a nerve because he can’t lift it up or down, all he can do is move his fingers.
“I’ve been helping him with exercises the physio gave us and hopefully we’ll start to see a bit of movement soon.”
Michelle added: “I’ll do anything I can to help him. I’ve told him that I got married to him so I’m stuck with him and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I know that he would do the same for me and I love him too much for it to be any other way.
“As a family, we’ve got over the worst of it now and the kids know that their daddy is coming home eventually, so we’ve just got to do whatever we need to do to help him.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital