Sky Brown, Team GB’s 11-year-old skateboarder, is "lucky to be alive" after suffering an horrific training accident that led to her being airlifted to hospital with fractures to her skull, wrist and hand as well as lacerations to her heart and lungs.
Brown, who is set to become Great Britain’s youngest ever summer Olympian at the Tokyo Games, said that her helmet and arm “saved my life” and has posted onto YouTube the extraordinary footage of the moments leading up to her accident.
The video shows her flying off the top of a high indoor ramp, dismounting her skateboard and heading for the hard ground between the ramps. Her dad, Stu, later said that she had landed head first onto concrete from 15ft, while the family spent the night worried sick and praying to God as the ICU team "tried to get her conscious and kept her alive."
Photographs were uploaded on her Instagram page from a hospital bed, showing bruising to her face and her lower left arm bandaged which she broke into several pieces after using it to try and break her fall.
“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about that because I want people to see the fun in what I do but this was my worst fall,” she said.
Her dad, Stu, said that “everyone was fearful for her life" when she arrived in hospital. "She landed head-first off a ramp on her hand - Sky had the gnarliest fall she's ever had and is lucky to be alive," he said. "Sky remains positive and strong, the whole medical team is shocked to see her positivity."
In an Instagram post yesterday, he thanked the doctors, nurses and hospital staff for the care of his daughter, writing "It hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don't have to."
Brown is one of the Telegraph’s ‘Tokyo Eight’ for the Olympics and Paralympics and we have been following every step of her progress ahead of the Games. She is now vowing to return stronger for the Tokyo Olympics, which were due to start next month, but have been postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I know a lot of people are worried about me, but don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I’m excited to come back even stronger and even tougher. My heart wants to go so hard right now. I’m just waiting for my body to catch up.
"Thank you everyone for sending your love, messages and supporting me. I’m sorry to make you worry. This will not stop me. I'm going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in Tokyo 2021.”
Brown will have just turned 13 by the time the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics starts in July 2021, but she would still beat the longstanding British record of Margery Hinton, who was 13 years and 43 days when she competed in the 200m breaststroke back at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
Brown’s dad, Stu, is English and her mum, Mieko, was born in Japan and the family also spend a large proportion of the year in the United States.
Sky Brown is out of the Telegraph's 'Tokyo Eight' athletes, whose individual progress we are tracking towards the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan next summer
Sky Brown - skateboarding
Frazer Clarke - boxing
Shauna Coxsey - climbing
Ethan Hayter - track cycling
Morgan Lake - athletics
Alice Tai - para-swimming
Joe Townsend - para-triathlon
Nile Wilson - gymnastics