Yoga teacher, 30, who may never walk again after breaking her spine in a mountain bike accident reveals she told her boyfriend to leave her because she doesn’t want to be a ‘burden’
- Casey Newton, 30, suffered accident in Tavistock, Devon in April 2021
- Was doing a one metre drop when she went over handlebars and broke spine
- Told boyfriend Jay Williamson, 28, to leave her because she may not walk again
- Jay is currently having couple’s new home adapted for Casey’s wheelchair
A super-fit yoga teacher told her boyfriend to leave her when she heard the devastating news that she may never walk again, after nose diving during a one metre drop on her mountain bike and breaking her spine.
Casey Newton, 30, and her boyfriend, Jay Williamson, 28, a semi-professional mountain bike racer and mountain bike coach, had just received the keys to the house they bought in south east Cornwall before the accident on April 11.
But, instead of racing through the front door together, she remains in a spinal treatment centre after the accident in Tavistock, Devon, while Jay – who remains devoted to her – is having the property adapted to meet her needs.
Also an accomplished mountain biker, Casey, whose parents are in the process of moving from Manchester to Cornwall to support her, said: ‘When I found out that I would likely never walk again, I broke down and told Jay to leave me because I didn’t want to be a burden to him.
Casey Newton, 30, from Tavistock, Devon, told her boyfriend Jay Williamson, 28, to leave her when she heard the devastating news that she may never walk again, after nose diving during a one metre drop on her mountain bike and breaking her spine
Casey has been rehabilitating since the accident in April and her parents are relocating from Manchester to Cornwall to support her
‘He said that we would hope for the best but if I never walk again, that I’m still me. He was just glad I was alive, nothing else mattered.
‘At the moment, I’ve been focusing on accepting the fact that I may never walk again. If that’s the case, I’ll have a happy life anyway.’
Casey, who is also a nutritionist and met Jay three years ago after he messaged her when she was tagged in a photo following a mountain bike race she competed in, was out riding with him when the accident happened in Tavistock, Devon.
She said: ‘We had just gone out for the day on our bikes.
Accomplished mountain biker Casey took a nosedive and went over the handlebars during a one metre drop, a manouevre she’d performed before
Jay has stuck by Casey’s side during her recovery and told her that even if she never walks again, she is still the same person
The pair enjoyed being active together, with Casey working as a yoga teacher and Jay as a semi-professional mountain bike racer
‘It was 2pm and we were going along a particular path where there was a slight drop – meaning we had to drop down about a metre. I had done it twice already that day and told Jay I was going for one more drop.
‘As I started to drop, though, I fell over the front of my bike. It was, basically, a nosedive. I hit the ground headfirst and felt an electric shock all the way down my body. Straightaway, I couldn’t feel my legs.
‘It’s quite normal to fall off a mountain bike, but this time was different. Jay came running over to me saying I was OK, but I knew I wasn’t. It must have been the way I landed, something wasn’t right.’
In shock, Casey urged Jay to call for help, but as they waited for paramedics to arrive, she had a terrifying inkling of how severe her injuries were.
Casey is hoping to be discharged by mid-July and Jay is having the property the couple had just purchased in Cornwall adjusted to meet his girlfriend’s needs
She said: ‘I was writhing in pain. I felt like I was going to die if I had to lie there any longer. I kept telling the paramedics I was lying on a spike. There was something stabbing me in the back. Only now do I realise that it was my broken spine.’
Casey was rushed by air ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, where she was taken for an emergency CT scan.
A consultant came to talk to her and had devastating news.
Casey said: ‘I remember them saying, ‘It’s really unlikely that you’ll ever walk again,’ and I broke down.’
Next morning, Casey had a seven-hour operation during which eight bolts and two rods were inserted into her back to stabilise her spine.
Casey had a seven-hour operation during which eight bolts and two rods were inserted into her back to stabilise her spine
Casey, pictured paddleboarding before the accident, hopes she will be able to play adapted sports once she has recovered
‘I’ve been slowly recovering ever since,’ she said. ‘I was moved to the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury 11 days after the accident and I haven’t been home since.’
Jay visits Casey once a week while he juggles work with adapting their home for her wheelchair.
She said: ‘Shortly after the accident, I broke down. I felt like if I couldn’t walk then I didn’t want to be here. Everything I do is active. I’m a yoga teacher, I go biking, running.
‘I told Jay that I didn’t want him to be with me because I was a burden. He said that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Casey and Jay’s new home in Cornwall will need to be adapted for Casey’s wheelchair. She said that she hopes for the best but if she doesn’t walk again, she will adapt and live a happy life regardless
Casey and Jay were both avid mountain bike racers and met online after he messaged her when she was tagged in a photo following a mountain bike race she competed in
Jay has picked up the keys to the couple’s new home while Casey remains in hospital. She’s staying positive and says she has lots to look forward to in the future
‘He said that we would hope for the best, but if this is it and I never walk again, I’m still me. He was just glad I was alive, nothing else mattered.
‘At the moment, I’ve been focusing on accepting the fact that I may never walk again. If that’s the case, I’m determined to adapt and have a happy life anyway.’
Now, Casey and her family are trying to raise money to pay for equipment and treatment she will need long term.
She said: ‘An adapted exercise bike costs around £15,000 alone and we have so many changes that need making to the house.
Caset and Jay before the accident: The couple had just bought a house together when the incident happened and now, Casey and her family are trying to raise money to pay for equipment and treatment she will need long term.
Casey has not been home since the incident but Jay visits her at the Salisbury treatment centre once a week
Casey and Jay have been together for three years and share a love of the outdoors and fitness
‘Also, who knows when or if I’ll be able to work again?
‘It’s a long and expensive road to recovery ahead, as only a limited amount of the equipment and physiotherapy I need are covered by the NHS.
‘My treatment and equipment for my wheelchair will be covered, but anything to help with my mobility on the slim chance I might walk again will cost money.’
Vowing to remain positive, Casey insists there are still plenty of exciting things for her to look forward to in the future.
Casey’s scar along her back after spinal surgery, which took seven hours
She said: ‘Jay and I made an offer on a house last December and we just got the keys this month.
‘It was our dream to pick up the keys together and walk through the front door as a couple, but that didn’t happen.
‘We have the keys now, though, and while I’m still in hospital, Jay is adapting it for me to live in once I’m discharged which could be in mid-July. He’s also said that he won’t sleep there overnight until it’s time for me to move in.
‘The support I’ve had from him has been incredible. Everyone has rallied around me, even my parents, who are moving to Cornwall to be closer to me.
‘I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m determined to carry on.
‘I’m going to play adapted sports and spend more time with my family and friends and I’m never ever going to give up trying to walk.’
To donate, visit: gofundme.com/f/support-for-casey-following-spinal-trauma
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