ACT News

How Snowy Hydro Southcare helped a little boy to heal

Ten-year-old Brodie Collins doesn't remember his first ride in a helicopter, but his mum Tracey will never forget it.

Two years ago, he was thrown 17 metres in the air after he was hit by a car on Horse Park Drive while riding his scooter with his younger sister, Belle.

Brodie Collins,10, of Harrison, was hit by a car in 2014.
Brodie Collins,10, of Harrison, was hit by a car in 2014. Photo: Melissa Adams

"I didn't know that he had been hit by a car until I got home and then saw the ambulance peeling away heading to the hospital. I heard the accident being reported on the radio as I was driving to hospital. I had no idea of the injuries until I got to emergency," Tracey remembers.

Brodie suffered eight broken ribs, two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone, a broken femur and a traumatic brain injury.

Brodie Collins and his mum, Tracey, at their family home in Harrison.
Brodie Collins and his mum, Tracey, at their family home in Harrison. Photo: Melissa Adams

He was in a critical condition and could not breathe on his own.

That was when Tracey and her husband, Aaron, were told he needed to be flown to Sydney.

"We took the ambulance out to the base to get on the helicopter and there were problems with Brodie's breathing. At one point they thought he was too unstable to get into the helicopter and needed to work quite hard to stabilise him," she said.

"[The Snowy Hydro Southcare team] spoke to me and told me everything they were doing during their time with him. The pilot gave me a plush Snowy Hydro toy and said, 'This is for Brodie when he wakes up'."

Brodie Collins in hospital after he was hit by a car.
Brodie Collins in hospital after he was hit by a car. Photo: Supplied

Brodie would spend six days in intensive care and another three weeks in a ward at Randwick Children's Hospital

A few days in, Tracey was startled by a tap on the shoulder.

"The doctor that had worked on Brodie had flown another patient up to Sydney and stopped by to check to see how Brodie was doing. That meant a lot," she said.

But Brodie wasn't out of the woods once he was discharged.

Tracey said the first six months were particularly hard.

"Brodie was so happy to get out of hospital and to get home, but it has been tough. Brodie had to adjust to the fact that he couldn't get around the way he used to and needed a lot of support for even the most basic of tasks," she said.

She said Brodie's psychological injuries were particularly difficult to overcome as he was unable to talk to anyone about the accident or his ongoing injuries.

The turning point came about seven months after the accident, when Brodie was invited to the Snowy Hydro Southcare base to meet the pilots and see the helicopter.

The second time Brodie sat in that helicopter is one neither he or his mum will forget.

"Brodie spent about an hour sitting in the helicopter and talking to the pilot. That was also the first time that I was able to meet the paramedics that worked on Brodie at the accident site. It was very emotional," she said.

"That was a turning point for Brodie because when we finished the visit and was getting in the car, Brodie said he was ready to talk to a psychologist about what has happened and did that same day."

As Tracey shares her son's remarkable story of survival, Brodie is wrestling with his older brother Kye in their Harrison lounge room.

He loves computer games, playing soccer with his friends and wants to become a police officer when he grows up.

But Brodie is still recovering and will be for a long time, Tracey said.

"Brodie is back full time at school and is currently working on a road safety presentation for school. He was able to use his own experiences and research others, that has also helped him understand his injuries a little better," she said.

"He has made a lot of progress in his schooling, however still has many challenges to overcome. The best thing is to see him running around the school playground with his friends playing tips or soccer."

And she said the Snowy Hydro Southcare team played a huge part in the progress he's made.

They even arranged for him to run on the field hand-in-hand with the captain of the Canberra Raiders.

"When no one else could break down those walls that he had built through fear, Snowy Hydro Southcare took the time to make a little boy feel very special," she said.

March is Snowy Hydro Southcare's awareness month. Its Base Open Day is on Sunday, March 20, from 10am to 3pm.