In October 2014, seven-year-old Dominic Coco from Atherton got to ride his very first quad bike. Unfortunately, the day ended with Dominic in intensive care in Townsville Hospital and doctors fearing for his life.

Key points:

  • Queensland has the highest rate of quad bike-related deaths in Australia
  • 20 per cent of quad bike deaths are children under the age of 16
  • Around 1 in 5 quad bike accidents result in a head injury

Dominic had seen other kids riding the quad bike around a neighbour’s property and begged his mum for a ride.

“He said to me, Mum I can do this by myself, even though he hadn’t been on a quad bike by himself before,” Jodie Coco said.

“All it took was for him to turn the handlebars slightly to the left and he took off on full throttle.

“He and the bike hit a power pole, he was ejected off the bike and landed on the bitumen and he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Luckily for the Coco family, an emergency helicopter happened to be flying over Atherton at the time. It was diverted to the Atherton Hospital and Dominic was flown directly to Townsville Hospital where he was put into an induced coma while in intensive care.

Dominic had suffered a traumatic brain injury, with a fractured lower skull and had a bleed to the right side of his brain.

Dominic in ICU 2

Dominic Coco recovering in ICU after his accident.(

Supplied: Jodie Coco

)

Ms Coco said the doctors did not hold much hope for Dominic.

“When they took him out of the induced coma, they weren’t even sure if he would be able to walk or talk again or even be the same kid,” she said.

“It took about 18 months before Dominic was back to normal.

“He is now a happy and healthy 14-year-old boy and apart from the scars on his head you wouldn’t know that anything had happened.”

According to the state government, Queensland has the highest rate of quad bike-related deaths in Australia. Around 1 in 5 quad bike incidents result in a head injury and 20 per cent of quad bike deaths are children under the age of 16.

Dominic coco cross fit 2021

Dominic at cross fit. His mother says it took 18 months for him to return to normal after the accident.(

Supplied: Jodie Coco

)

Jodie and her husband, Mario, are now safety advocates for Work Safe Queensland. They give presentations across the state, where they show a film that was made about what they went through and how it impacted their family and friends.

“We also discuss the ride ready campaign, which is about wearing a helmet, making sure that kids are on kids bikes, and the importance of rider training,” Ms Coco said.

“We also discuss the importance of first-aid as Mario had first-aid training and he gave Dominic CPR after the accident happened.

Ms Coco has one last message for parents.

“Quad bikes are not a toy, make sure your kids are riding the correct-sized bike, and that they know how to operate the bike and that they have had training,” she said.

 “Always make sure that they are wearing personal protection equipment like helmets and chest plates.”

‘They’re not a toy’: Parents become safety advocates after seeing their son involved in a quad bike accident
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