CYCLIST Dominic Hurley’s dream of representing Britain in this year’s Paralympics were smashed when a pot hole sent him spinning from his bike on a group ride.
Had he not been wearing a cycling helmet the damage could have been much worse, but the 39-year old suffered a severe break to his collar bone, damaged his cerebellum permanently and awaits a major operation for a displaced disc in his spine.
And this was after 17 years of battling back to health, when a moped accident abroad left him in a coma with life threatening injuries.
Now Dom is supporting cyclist Bradley Wiggins (Tour de France Winner and Olympic Gold Medalist) in pressing the need for cycling helmets at every opportunity.
Dominic, who trains at Parkgate, told the Times: “I was on a group ride when I came off two years ago. We all came in together after braking for a pot hole and I shot over the handlebars. There was no way I could stop myself. I smashed my helmet but thankfully my head was okay.
“However, that one simple fall stole my dream of being at the Paralympics and forced me to look for a new career yet again.
“As I damaged my cerebellum I may yet end up in a wheelchair. But if I hadn’t worn my helmet I would probably be dead!
“I was very disappointed and for some time was in a lot of pain, but I can still help bring up my beautiful baby daughter and I can still lead a happy life.”
Dominic stresses that when you are out on a bike there is nothing to protect you between your head and the road, and just one slight nudge or pot hole can bring a cyclist down.
The injuries that left him debilitated down one side of his body were sustained after his moped accident, that occurred again from a pothole when he was not wearing a helmet.
He added: “It really is not worth it to take the risk with no helmet, then live your life constantly wishing you had worn one.
“It’s way too important to ignore as you think ‘I might be too hot, or it might mess my hair up, or my friends might laugh’.
“No-one will laugh when you are in a coma after coming off your bike. However gently you plan to travel it won’t protect you - I was going at about 10 mph when I fell.”
Dominic is right behind the campaign for the wearing of cycle helmets to become law. But before that can happen he pleads: “ If not the law by the government then please make it a law in your own home, in your own life, to wear a helmet when on your bike. For your own sake!”
On September 8, Dominic, who won brain injury charity Headway’s National Achiever of the Year title in 2010 for his bike-a-thons that have raised over £55,000 for charity, will be at the Rotherham show on September 8 and 9 at the town’s Clifton Park with the borough’s road safety team.
He’s willing to chat to anyone about his sport, and to offer advice and information about cycling safely, and the equipment that is available.
Gold medal-winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins says those using bicycles should have helmets but not wear ipods and or use phones while riding, after the death of a cyclist outside London Olympic Park.
Anyone who has a head injury and would like support can contact Headway Rotherham on 01709 581823.