Calgary teen paralyzed in tobogganing accident

The family of a Calgary teenager who was paralyzed from the waist down in a tobogganing accident is sharing their story in hopes of preventing a similar tragedy.

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Alex was tobogganing with friends on Dec. 21, his fifteenth birthday, when he hit a patch of ice and crashed head-first into a pole. Unable to feel his legs, he was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed that three vertebrae in his back were broken.

Alex, whose last name is being withheld at the request of his family, has been in the hospital ever since. He told CTV Calgary that “all signs point” towards the possibility that he will be paraplegic for the rest of his life.

“Watching your child suffer, day to day, and fight for things that we take for granted is mind-boggling to say the least,” said the teen’s mother, Stella.

Alex’s accident occurred on a hill that’s not approved for tobogganing by the city. But his parents say the city should at least post a warning sign in the area or fence off the poles at the bottom of the hill.

They also hope that Alex’s story will encourage other teenagers and families to be more careful while tobogganing.

“We hope no other family has to get that phone call,” said Alex’s father, John.

There are more than 20 city-maintained tobogganing hills in Calgary. Coun. Shane Keating said residents should flag safety issues in other areas to the municipality.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Alex’s family purchase a wheelchair and modify their home and vehicles.

The once-active teen, who was in the cadets and hoped to join the Canadian Armed Forces someday, now says he would like to become a psychologist to help others in need.

“It’s a lot easier for someone to relate to someone who has been through a traumatic experience like this so I think this is going to help me a lot in life,” he said.

With a report from CTV Calgary’s Kathy Le



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