In 2020 17-year-old Lewis Schmid was in his HSC year at school and living a very active lifestyle.

He loved hiking and had won his category in competitive bouldering. Lewis was on his way home from school in mid-June when he was in an accident and struck a tree – he sustained critical head injuries and lost consciousness from the collision.

NSW Ambulance paramedics were providing initial treatment when CareFlight’s crew arrived.  Lewis was intubated and placed in an induced coma to stabilise him. He was then transported in a critical condition to Westmead Hospital under ongoing observation from CareFlight’s clinical team.

Dr Ruth Parsell, who was part of the CareFlight crew that provided lifesaving treatment, said that if they had arrived two minutes later, Lewis’ chances of survival were “nil”.

Lewis spent five weeks in ICU, he was then moved to a high-dependence ward and was finally relocated to the brain injury unit. When he left ICU, Lewis was unable to speak or roll on his side. He remained in hospital for 10 months before he was able to go home.

Since his accident, Lewis has made an astounding recovery, he has learnt how to walk again and is returning to his active lifestyle, relearning how to boulder and using a reclined bike.

Malcolm, Lewis’ dad, says that the most miraculous part of Lewis’ journey, is not him gaining his mobility again, but doing the simple things like feeding the dogs and reading a menu, “It’s the things that are normal that are important”.