MITCH Jarrett can't tell you why he decided not to wear a helmet when he went dirt bike riding on Good Friday, but he can tell you it's a decision that almost cost him his life.
Mitch had been camping at a friend's property over Easter, about three hours west of Toowoomba when he and his brother decided to go for a ride to one of the nearby dams.
"Right before we left I actually thought to myself 'we should get the helmets out' and then I thought 'ah well I'll do it when I get back', but I never made it back,” Mitch remembers.
On the way back from the dam, he was following his brother travelling at around 60 km/h and was blinded by the dust the lead bike was kicking up, when he suddenly hit an ant hill. Mitch was flung an estimated 30 metres from his bike, with the impact knocking him unconscious.
"I was following my brother back to the house on my bike and that's all I can remember,” said Mitch.
It wasn't until his brother got back to the house that he realised Mitch wasn't following him anymore.
"He jumped back on his bike and came back and found me, and I was only just waking up when he got to me, so I was knocked out that whole time,” he said.
Mitch was covered in gravel rash, bleeding from the head, had significant internal bruising on his skull and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
"He just told me to lay still and he went back and got dad and the ute. When they got back to me they said I was sitting up. Dad came over and asked me if I could move my legs,” Mitch said.
"Apparently I got up and walked to the ute.”
Mitch doesn't remember walking to the ute, or the drive back to the house. Once inside his mum rang the medical centre in Tara, who advised her to call an ambulance immediately.
Next thing they knew two ambulances, and the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter were on the way.
"It was pretty stressful for mum and she found it very comforting that the LifeFlight crew was coming to get me,” said Mitch.
Mitch's family had to cut down some trees to allow the helicopter to land near the house. After being carefully loaded into the chopper, Mitch was then flown to Toowoomba Hospital for head scans.
"The crew were really nice and really helpful. They're really good blokes,” he said.
"My dad came with me in the helicopter which I was very thankful for.”
Luckily he was cleared of a serious head injury.
"The doctors told me I was very, very lucky to come out of it and still be able to walk, let alone to still be alive after coming off at that speed and hitting my head that hard,” Mitch says.
"I am very thankful to God, he was definitely looking after me on Good Friday.”
Mitch had heard of LifeFlight before, but never thought he would be someone who needed them to come to his rescue.
"I'd just really like to thank them for coming out and getting me,” he said.
The safety message certainly got through to Mitch's family, with his three year old nephew wearing his helmet for the rest of the camping trip on his small pushbike.
"He's got a little balance bike, and all weekend from when he woke up to when he went to bed he'd have his helmet on even if he was just riding his bike around the camp,” he said.
Back at home and on the mend, Mitch is telling everyone who will listen to ensure they wear a helmet.
"Whenever anyone has asked me what happened, I just say 'make sure you wear a helmet on a motorbike', even if you're just going out for a quick ride. It's just not worth it,” he said.
"It was very selfish of me not to wear a helmet. It's not just you that you have to think about - it's other people as well.”
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