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Ipswich/Kesgrave: Man who survived being struck by digger bucket tells of remarkable recovery

13:04 28 December 2012

Jake Paternoster mascot for The Ipswich Wanderers and Gavin Frost

Jake Paternoster mascot for The Ipswich Wanderers and Gavin Frost


IT is nearly a year since Gavin Frost suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a nine-tonne digger bucket.

‘The team that helped me really saved my life’

IPSWICH: Gavin Frost today thanked the paramedic who saved his life.

Mr Frost’s family previously offered their gratitude to paramedic Nick Slade who got into the unstable 18 foot hole to help him.

But speaking for the first time, Mr Frost wanted to personally thank the team who came to his rescue.

Mr Slade was by Mr Frost’s side for more than 40 minutes while the rescue operation went on, and despite the confined space he managed to administer pain relief.

“I was a bit erratic being in the hole,” Mr Frost said.

“I had been in there for a while before the paramedic came in because others didn’t think it was safe.

“The paramedic (Mr Slade) was amazing. He kept me calm and kept telling me everything was okay even though I knew it wasn’t because I could tell the extent of my injuries and I could tell my jaw was hanging off my face.

“The team that helped me really saved my life. Doctors said I had sustained four or five injuries which were life-threatening so I do think I am quite lucky.”

Mr Slade said: “I didn’t have any second thoughts about getting down there. The prime focus was the patient and getting to him, just getting on with the job at hand.”

So seriously hurt was he that doctors told the 34-year-old he was lucky to be alive.

But today, the gutsy dad-of-two is looking ahead to 2013 with a new-found optimism after defying the medics’ grim predictions and making a remarkable recovery.

For many months, Mr Frost was unable to speak because his right vocal cord was paralysed – but after surgery to repair the damage he is finally able to tell his story.

“I am pleased with how well my rehabilitation is going,” he said. “I have defied the odds on what was expected of my recovery.

“I have some of the feeling in my arm from where the digger hit it, so I have physiotherapy for that three times a week to help my shoulder, arm and hand.

“In myself I feel 100 per cent but I know I still have a while to go yet.

“Doctors have said that they don’t know how I survived it and that I’m lucky. They said I had sustained five injuries which should have killed me, but I’m still here.

“Originally the doctors said it would take three or four years to recover but I am progressing a lot quicker than they thought.”

Mr Frost was on site in Fentons Way, Grange Farm, Kesgrave, when the horrific accident happened on January 21.

While working in an 18ft-hole, he was struck by the digger three times, once to the arm and twice to the side of his face.

The impact broke his jaw bone in three places, left him with a fractured skull, a broken cheek bone and eye socket, broken ribs and severe cuts.

Mr Frost has endured a number of major operations since the accident, with skin graft surgery still to take place in January at the Royal London Hospital.

“There are good days and bad days but you have to remember what life is all about,” he said. “One of the toughest days I remember was seeing my little girl and not being able to pick her up.

“You have to remain positive. You have to have the heart to want to be here and to get through it.

“It’s crazy to think that within 15 seconds life can change completely.”

It has not only been the physical injuries Mr Frost has had to contend with. In the months after the incident, he has also had to overcome the mental scars from his ordeal, suffering horrific flashbacks and vivid nightmares.

But today, his confidence is back, thanks largely to his family and friends, including close pal Peter Gorham.

“My confidence took a massive knock because you just keep thinking that people are going to speak with you a certain way because they know what has happened to you and I didn’t want that.

“Peter made me come out of the house and socialise again. I needed that because before the accident I was a bit of the Jack the lad.”

Mr Frost thanked those close to him for all their love and support.

He describes his journey over the past year as being like “going up one hill and coming down another”.

The popular Ridgeons League footballer also hopes to return to the football pitch in the future after being asked to re-join Ipswich Wanderers.

He previously played for Felixstowe and Walton United, Woodbridge Town and Ransomes Sports.

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