Groom breaks neck in bucks party prank gone wrong
TIM Cornthwaite was celebrating his last days as an unmarried man when disaster struck.
A freak accident during a bucks party prank on Saturday afternoon left the popular father-of-two in a halo brace which had to be drilled into his skull, after he suffered multiple, unstable neck fractures.
His fiancee, Chloe Zammit, has been at his bedside in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital as the pair face an uncertain six months ahead.
After the accident at a Gold Coast home on Saturday afternoon Tim, 29, complained of a sore neck, but continued on with the bucks party festivities.
His neck stiffened up on Sunday and by Monday afternoon, back home at Meridan Plains with his family, he decided to see a physiotherapist.
The physio sent him straight to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for X-rays and a CAT scan and he stayed in hospital overnight, before being taken down to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
His halo brace, which has been screwed into his skull in four places, was fitted on Wednesday.
Chloe said it had been a "very intense" few days.
"Tim's handling it really well," she said.
She said surgeons had discussed operating briefly, as his C-6 vertebrae had been completely cracked and he had multiple fractures, but they preferred the less invasive halo brace.
His head brace connects to a chest vest, which will restrict his movements heavily for up to six months.
A concrete cutter by trade, Tim faced the prospect of not being able to work in that industry again and it was unknown whether the talented goalkeeper would be able to play his beloved soccer again.
The Maroochydore A-Grade skipper was able to walk slowly at the moment, but Chloe said he was struggling with the limited mobility.
"He's not been coping having to lay flat in the bed," she said.
"He can't lift them (two sons, Luca, almost three, and Theo, one-and-a-half) at all.
"We'll all just have to adjust to a new normal."
The pair were due to be married this weekend and had almost 100 guests coming, but have had to change their plans.
Chloe said they would go ahead with their ceremony, but would delay the reception for six months.
"It took a while to convince him (to delay the reception)," Chloe said.
"It's definitely not the day we'd been planning."
The delayed party would coincide with Tim's 30th birthday and Chloe hoped he would be well on the road to recovery and no longer required his halo brace.
The family now has no income, as Chloe has had to become Tim's carer for the next six months and fundraising efforts have begun to help the young family.
Sunshine Coast Wanderers senior men's captain Nick Arden, a good mate of Tim's, said plans were now underway to arrange a fundraising game for Tim, Chloe and the boys.
He said a number of local clubs had been contacted about the charity match and he hoped to have the game organised within the next week or so.
A Gofundme page has been set up for Tim. Click here to donate.