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Paralysed 'hero' biker hopes to return to teaching

A music teacher who was told he would never walk again after a motorbike crash left him paralysed hopes to be back in class early next year.

Chris Toon, 32, from Derbyshire, broke all his ribs, his back and punctured his lungs after swerving to avoid cyclists near Melton Mowbray in June.

Described as a hero for his actions, Mr Toon is now back at home after spending months in rehabilitation.

The saxophonist said he hoped to be in “full swing” by February.

“It’s what I really live for to be honest – I treasure it and it’s what’s given me the motivation to get back,” he said.

“Even though I’m in a wheelchair, it won’t stop me from playing.”

Mr Toon, who works at Nottingham High School, said it took him 20 minutes to get a sound from his saxophone after the crash, with the fear that injuries to his lungs, abdomen and diaphragm had left him unable to play.

Despite suffering “a lot of dark moments” and being left with no feeling from the chest down, he said he would do the same thing again to prevent anyone else getting injured.

“I would be in a different position if I’d injured someone else,” he said.

“I could have ploughed through them and maybe killed a couple of cyclists – that would be traumatising.”

Mr Toon was discharged from hospital in October and is now living independently at home near Nottingham, having received help in his rehabilitation from the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

Chief executive Sue Browning praised Mr Toon – the charity’s 10,000th member – for his resilience in recovering from the crash.

“His experience is a great example of how life doesn’t have to end after a spinal cord injury,” she said.

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