On the morning of August 30 last year David Campbell woke as a teenage boy with a love for motorbikes and a youthful desire to rebel.
By that afternoon his bones would be shattered, his brain would be damaged and life as he knew it would never be the same.
Today David, 14, cannot walk and he cannot talk, instead his father Will is the one left to tell the story.
“You don’t plan for something like this and you don’t expect it,” Mr Campbell, of Cessnock, said. “You can tell kids to be more careful on motorbikes but they won’t always listen.
“Boys David’s age think they are 10 foot tall and bulletproof. They don’t think anything will happen to them . . . but it can and it does.”
On that fateful winter day, David went for a short, 15-minute ride after school. He came home and, unbeknown to his father, left again on his bike.
“I thought he was next door but the next thing I knew his mate was at the back fence saying David had been in an accident,” Mr Campbell said. “Initially I was angry with him but then when we got to the scene and saw a helicopter, police cars and an ambulance I knew it was pretty serious.
“He had run into a truck, so you can imagine the injuries he sustained.”
Aside from an acute brain injury, David’s legs, jaw, ribs and an arm were broken and his kidneys were also damaged. He needed 38 units of red blood cells and five bags of platelets to keep him alive.
“His whole body was pretty much broken, but the head trauma was the worst. All the broken bones can be repaired but when it comes to his brain, it’s all a matter of wait and see,” Mr Campbell said.
“When David was in surgery I really thought he would come out and say, ‘That wasn’t good was it?’ But that didn’t happen.”
David has been in John Hunter Hospital since the accident but there are now plans for his return home.
“There are a lot of things that still need to be sorted and the house has to be modified but I’m pretty excited about David coming home because we’ll be able to get up in the morning, I’ll give him a shower and take him out for the day,” he said.
“David was just a normal kid with no road sense. He should not have been on the road, but he didn’t know the rules and had no perception of traffic.
“Before the accident my main concern was that David would be caught by the police. At no stage did I think this would happen. But this is our life now and it’s just David and myself.
“And this whole experience has opened my eyes and made me realise there are a lot of good people out there and a lot of good in people.”
■ Call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 131 495 or visit www.donateblood.com.au to make an appointment to donate blood.