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Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Published at 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK


Teenager's 12-year broken neck

Luke said he enjoys an active life

A teenager is recovering from pioneering surgery after it was discovered he had a broken neck for 12 years.

The BBC's John Barnes reports
Luke Binnersley sustained the injury when he was one year old, but only became aware of it when he lost all feeling while swimming.

He said: "I was swimming along the bottom, came up for some air and hurt my neck.

"I just sank to the bottom paralysed, not feeling a thing."

Latest treatments

Luke was taken to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, where he received the latest treatments.

[ image: Luke's clamp will stay in place for the rest of his life]
Luke's clamp will stay in place for the rest of his life
Consultant spinal surgeon Mr Andre Jackowski said: "To repair the fracture we've clamped it together using a titanium clamp.

"Luke's walking around with this thing holding the fracture together, and will do for the rest of his life," he said.

The operation took four hours, and it is the first time the procedure has been performed on an old injury.

Lucky break

"He's a very unlucky man in a sense - in that he had the fracture in the first place and that it wasn't detected," Mr Jackowski said.

"But he's very lucky in as much as he's had a second bite of the cherry - he had a very near miss in the swimming pool."

Luke's parents - Christine and Philip - said they were amazed at their son's near miss.

They had tried to think back to when the original injury occurred but could not place it, they said.

"We've always told him to hold his head up. Now we realise that he couldn't," Mr Binnersley said.

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