Brixworth motorbike crash amputee who died twice in operating theatre back in the riding seat
A father-of-two has revived his love of motorcycle riding more than four years after he lost his leg following a horrific motorbike accident.
Andrew Vasper, 52, from Brixworth had to have his leg amputated after a car knocked him off his bike on May 12, 2012.
He was travelling home along the A5199 Northampton Road after visiting his son who lived in Brixworth. As he approached a staggered cross road, a Vauxhall Astra suddenly pulled out from a junction on the right and straight into the side of his motorcycle.
Andrew said: “Thinking back to the accident, I remember approaching the junction with caution as I had an inkling that the driver was going to pull out on me. He didn’t, so I carried on as normal.
"It wasn’t until I was actually level with the car that he did pull out, knocking me straight off my bike. My leg took all the impact and I was thrown up the road and face down into a ditch."
An air ambulance rushed Andrew to the University Hospital Coventry where he underwent emergency surgery to save his leg. He had six operations in total over the nine weeks that he spent in hospital. To repair the significant damage to his foot, muscle was taken from his abdomen and used to completely reconstruct it.
Due to his injuries, he lost so much blood he 'died' twice while in the operating theatre.
Andrew’s recovery was slow and extremely painful and, with the pain so unbearable, he saw little other choice than to have his right leg removed in order to get his life back on track.
Eighteen months after the accident, he was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where his right leg was amputated below the knee.
To make matters worse, Andrew suffered a significant injury to his left leg in a road traffic accident at the age of 19, which left him with a permanent disability and so he lost his only working leg as a result of this accident.
Andrew said: "I knew that my leg would need to be amputated eventually as it wasn’t getting any better. I spoke to lots of different surgeons to get their advice, and ultimately made the decision to have my leg removed.
"Four years on I do not regret it at all, it’s the best decision I’ve made as it was just hampering my life.”
After just a short period of rehab at the West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre in Birmingham, he was fitted with his first prosthetic limb in January 2014.
Andrew worked closely with serious injury specialists Fletchers Solicitors following the accident who were able to secure an interim payment from Churchill Insurance and Berrymans so he could pay for gastric band surgery and get a more suitable prosthesis while his claim was still ongoing.
In September 2015, Andrew received a settlement of £650,000 to compensate for his life changing injuries.
Andrew said: “Before the surgery, I was unable to move around as freely as I had done before, so I couldn’t exercise and I just piled on the pounds. This made me incredibly depressed and my psychological health took a massive hit.
"But the interim payment and the compensation have been an absolute god send as they really helped in my recovery. I was able to pay for the gastric bypass surgery and a better quality prosthetic, which allowed me to become mobile again and I started to get my life back to normal.
"I was able to do some of the things I enjoyed doing before the accident. I am extremely grateful to Fletchers for the team’s support and guidance. They were amazing throughout the whole process and were always there when I needed them.”
Julia Eyton, a serious injury lawyer at Fletchers Solicitors who worked on the case, said: “Andrew has been through a terrible ordeal and has really battled with his recovery.
This has been extremely difficult for him and has taken its toll on various aspects of his life, such as his independence.
Throughout his case, we fought for him to receive the compensation he was entitled to, in order to help aid in his recovery and help him come to terms with what has happened.”
After his case was settled Andrew returned to work at his bespoke radiator designer and distributor business but it took a hit as he was unable to dedicate the time and commitment needed due to his injuries and a short time later Andrew had little choice but to fold the company.
Despite his ordeal, Andrew vowed not to let his injuries hold him back and prevent him from pursuing his love of motorbike riding.
Four years after losing his leg, he is now back riding motorbikes both and took part in a track day at Donnington race course held by The Experience, a charity that teaches and advises injured motorcyclists how to ride safely again.
Andrew was also extremely keen to repay the air ambulance crew that saved his life. In 2013, he won a Honda motorbike in competition held by Motorcycle News, and auctioned off the prize so that he could donate the funds to the air ambulance.
Since the accident. Andrew has gone on to lose almost 10 stone in weight and also got married in August 2016. He has now purchased a new home for himself and his family and is looking forward to the future.
Andrew added: “I’m over the moon that I’ve been able to get back on a motorbike and reignite my love of riding. Me and my wife both enjoy motorcycling, so it’s great that we’re able to share this hobby together and I’m certainly not letting my injuries hold me back.
"I can’t wait to take part in the track day in June and meet other people who have been injured like I have and have their own amazing stories to tell. Four years on from the accident and life is finally looking brighter.”