“Thank you, thank you, thank you, for saving my life!”

An 11-year-old boy has been reunited with some of his heroes – the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue aeromedical team who saved his life last September.

Cooper Prior is expected to make a full recovery from significant brain and internal injuries he suffered after losing control of his motorbike and running into a cement rainwater tank.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my life,” Cooper recently told some of his LifeFlight rescue crew.

RACQ LifeFlight Critical Care Doctor David Wedgwood, Pilot David Hampshire, and Co-Pilots Nick McDonald and Andrew Caldwell shook hands with the grateful tween who told them he’s happy to be alive but incredibly sad doctors have told him he can’t play his favourite sport this year.

“I’m not allowed to play footy which is a big impact,” Cooper said.

“But I’m very, very grateful. LifeFlight do a really amazing job, they save lots and lots and lots of people.

“They got me to Brisbane right on time.”

Cooper was riding a new motorbike around his Yelarbon house – 32 kilometres east of Goondiwindi – and was attempting a small jump when he crashed.

He was wearing full protective equipment including a motorbike helmet, boots, a chest pad and a long-sleeved shirt and motorbike pants.

The Year 7 student can’t remember his chopper flight when airlifted by the crew.

At the reunion, he spoke with Critical Care Doctor David Wedgwood who told him the quick flying time of around an hour compared to a 4-hour drive and the medical care he received on-site and in the air saved his life.

“It’s such a wonderful experience being able to meet someone that we were really worried about who was reasonably sick when we got there,” Dr Wedgwood said.

“He was telling us about how wonderful it was to have a service like LifeFlight be able to come out to his property and look after him the way that we were able to when he’s had his accident.

“And seeing his outcome is absolutely incredible. It’s not an understatement to say that without LifeFlight, I don’t think Cooper would be alive today.

“He would not have had anywhere near as good of an outcome from a brain perspective as what he’s had today.”

Cooper’s injuries were critical. He had bleeds on both sides of his brain, an injured neck, bruised heart and lungs, cracked ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a compound fracture of his left femur.

The LifeFlight aeromedical team, alongside three Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedics, worked on Cooper for an hour before he was stable enough to fly.

Cooper’s mother, Helen, said saying thank you was not enough to show her gratitude.

“If it wasn’t for LifeFlight, my son would have died,” Helen said.

“He’d just had his first ride, it was a bigger motorbike and he was just doing figure eights past the house at home, going backwards and forwards – he just rode past us, we were sitting at the back gate and he’s gone past us behind the sheds, just out of sight and we’ve heard his motorbike stop so we ran and found him lying on the ground next to his motorbike.

“LifeFlight means a lot to me and my family and our extended family and friends now because without them Cooper’s story would have been totally different.

“He’s almost made a full recovery. And he should make a full recovery in time, without LifeFlight that could have been completely different.”

One of the first things Helen told her son’s rescue crew was that after he woke up, he really wanted to see the helicopter and to see where on the property it landed.

LifeFlight air crew officer Nick McDonald gave Cooper a photo of the helicopter from his rescue mission with a list of the medical and air crew on the back.

“You don’t remember that but that’s us on your front lawn when we picked you up,” Nick said.

“And then if you flick over, it’s got all the different crew. All the flight crew on that side, and all the medical crew who looked after you on that side.”

Dr Wedgwood said the opportunity to meet a patient LifeFlight had saved was one of the best parts of the job.

“And seeing a kid like Cooper today, it just makes me quite proud of the achievements that we’ve able to have with Cooper,” he said.

“Excited that we can work in this kind of environment, in this kind of job and to see the impacts that we’ve had on people like that. Yeah, it’s really heartwarming.”

Cooper and his mother Helen are special guests at LifeFlight’s Toowoomba fundraising Gala in May.