First steps for “miracle” recovery paratrooper
THIS is the first picture of the amazing recovery made by a Colchester soldier who was warned he might never walk again after breaking his back just three weeks ago.
Lewis Bailey, of the Parachute Regiment’s Second Battalion, suffered horrific injuries after falling four floors from his hotel balcony whilst on holiday in Ibiza.
The 19-year-old’s back and right leg were broken in the 30-foot plunge and his kneecap was shattered.
Doctors initially told the teenager’s devastated family he might not even survive and warned he would probably not walk again.
But following a series of major operations in Ibiza and back in the UK the young soldier is defying the bleak prognosis and has managed to walk with the aid of crutches and a leg support.
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This weekend he left hospital and is home with his family and Army seniors have already said they want to get him back to Colchester as soon as possible.
The recovery within just three weeks astounded doctors who have hailed Lewis as their “little walking miracle”.
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His mum, Emma Bailey, told the EADT her son’s determination to walk again had been inspirational.
“It was really emotional when he walked for the first time. He took 12 steps - I counted them which was amazing to see as there was a time when I was having to feed him.
“He will be able to walk again as they did another operation which helped to save the vertebrae but he will have a metal rod through his spine and one in his leg for the rest of his life.
“The only thing that will cause him trouble is his kneecap because it’s in five pieces.”
Mrs Bailey revealed despite her son’s bravery he felt as though he had let his fellow paratroopers down as he will not be able to travel with them on their imminent tour to Afghanistan.
“He is coping with the physical injuries very well but he is upset about Afghanistan - that his section is now a man down - but they have told him Afghanistan is not going away and there will be other tours.
“They are such a strong team unit and they support each other emotionally as well as through the injuries.”
Lewis now faces a gruelling regime of physiotherapy at his home in Sutton Coldfield which has already been adapted to cater for the changes to his life.
“His back is still broken, but when he got home in the ambulance yesterday he wanted to show everyone how he can walk but he has to learn just how far he can push it.
“It has been amazingly quick though and the doctors said he is like a little walking miracle,” Mrs Bailey added.
She praised the support from family, friends and the Army.
“The Army has been absolutely fantastic since day one – we have had phone calls from them every day and they have said as soon as he is well enough to travel on his own, they want him back in Colchester.”
Lewis suffered his injuries when he was holidaying with friends in Ibiza where he was enjoying time relaxing before heading out to Afghanistan.
He returned to his hotel room feeling unwell but when he rushed to be sick over his balcony he fell over.
His shouts were heard by a holiday rep. at the Laura S’Atalaya apartments in San Antonio Bay and was rushed to Del Rosario Hospital in Ibiza Town.
Various fundraising events to help aid Lewis’ recovery have been taking place, with another planned in Colchester next month.
“Get our Soldier Sorted” is being held at the Silk Road, Colchester on September 7 with doors to the army-themed fancy dress night opening at 8.30pm with all the money raised going to support Lewis.