Mother of son left in coma for nine days after bike crash has important message for parents this Christmas

A mother has urged parents to get their kids a helmet with a bike this Christmas after her five-year-old boy spent nine days in a coma after a horror crash.

Nikki Barnes, 28, said her son Marli suffered two skull fractures and a broken shoulder in the terrifying incident, which left him fighting for his life in hospital. He had been playing yards from his home in Sowerby Bridge when he jumped on a friend's "rust bucket" bike and rode down a steep hill.

But as the bicycle had no brakes, he then went steaming into a four-foot high garden wall at the bottom, before being flung head-first into the side of a house. Horrified Nikki found her unconscious son receiving CPR from neighbours minutes later - prior to an air ambulance arriving on the scene.

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Doctors later told her and Marli's dad, Dean Collinson, 32, to 'prepare for the worst' as they feared he might not wake up from his induced coma.

Marli BarnesMarli Barnes
Marli Barnes

Remarkably, Marli re-gained consciousness just over a week later, and while he's since recovered, concerns remain about his long-term development.

And Nikki is now urging parents who buy their kids bikes this Christmas to make sure that they get them a helmet as well.

She said: "They might not look good, it's not a cool thing to be wearing, but they do and will save your child's life. Marli got lucky, another child might not get as lucky. They could sustain more injuries than him. As a mum, having to watch my five-year-old son get CPR at the scene and knowing he wasn't breathing, it's been traumatic.

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"You do picture it when you're trying to sleep. It's not something anyone would ever want to experience. We did think this could be his last Christmas."

Marli Barnes in hospital, he spent nine days in a coma following a crashMarli Barnes in hospital, he spent nine days in a coma following a crash
Marli Barnes in hospital, he spent nine days in a coma following a crash

Full-time mother Nikki said Marli had been playing with a big group of his pals on September 3 this year on his quiet cul-de-sac shortly before the incident. She had told him to remain near his home as she prepared his dinner.

But he'd decided to walk to the top of his street, which sits on a very steep hill, and ride his friend's bike to the bottom at speed.

Nikki said: "Not even five minutes after having that conversation with Marli, I had two men walking down the garden path, and I thought 'Oh gosh, what's he done now?' "They just told me that my son was unconscious, passed out in somebody's garden. I literally just ran. I didn't even wait to know where he was.

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"When I got there, there was an elderly couple, and an 80-year-old man was lying on the floor with Marli giving him CPR. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was so surreal. The bike was way too big for Marli. It had no brakes. It was a rust bucket basically."

She added: "The couple said Marli had hit their home so hard that they thought something had fallen over upstairs."

Nikki said three ambulances had arrived five minutes later, with paramedics cutting away Marli's clothes and giving him oxygen as he had a series of seizures.

An air ambulance later whisked him to Leeds General Infirmary, where he was diagnosed with base and frontal skull fractures - as well as a broken shoulder. Doctors later gave her the grave news that he might not survive his terrifying ordeal.

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Nikki said: "They then told me the injuries that Marli had got and said, 'The best thing to do is prepare yourself because we can't tell you the outcome.' "'He's got a breathing machine, and we don't know if he's ever going to be breath on his own again.'"

Nikki said she remained by Marli's bedside, barely eating or sleeping, for the next eight days as he was kept on strong sedative medicines, including fentanyl.

When Marli finally awoke on the ninth day in the intensive care ward, she said everyone around her was reduced to tears as he called out her name.

Nikki said: "The first thing Marli said coming around - he shouted 'mum' three times. We all just cried. It was just so surreal that he actually spoke. We were only in hospital two days after he woke up. He literally bounced back. He was walking after he woke up."

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Nikki said she had managed to book a trip abroad for plane mad Marli just before Christmas after he managed to pull through the terrifying ordeal.

She added: "We've actually made Marli's wishes come true. We are going on holiday with him, jumping on a plane to Egypt for ten days. He's been absolutely obsessed with aeroplanes since he was little, but it's never something I've been able to do with Marli. So it's making his dreams come true just to get on one."

Marli and Nikki are also raising money to buy helmets for local kids in time for Christmas.

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