An 11-year-old boy who broke his hip falling off newly installed monkey bars on his first day of secondary school has been diagnosed with a rare condition.
James Broderick had been at Turner Free School in Folkestone for just three hours when the accident happened at 11am during his morning break.
Monkey bars are part of the new equipment installed during the summer. School bosses say “all risk assessments and security checks” have been carried out.
Teachers rushed to the aid of the Year 7 student as his leg ‘flooded in pain’. He was taken to a walk-in center in town before being transferred to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
An X-ray showed James had broken his right hip and would need treatment at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.
Further tests revealed the young sportsman – who enjoys football, skateboarding and swimming – suffered from a rare condition called slipped capital femoral epiphysis.
The condition has a 50% chance of leading to avascular necrosis – meaning his bone tissue is at risk of dying and he may need a hip replacement.
His mother, Eloise Morton, told KentOnline it was “horrible” to see her baby boy in “such awful pain”.
“He was so excited for his first day and I couldn’t believe it when it happened,” she said.
“It turns out that he has an underlying condition which had not been detected until now.
“That means he needs a very intensive operation and additional treatment.
“At one point his hip was going to break, but falling off the monkey bars at school brought the process forward and made it worse.
“Apparently it’s really rare and we didn’t know it.
“We thought maybe he just scratched a bone or pulled a muscle, so I couldn’t believe it.”
Describing the fall, James says that at first he “didn’t feel anything” as he lay on the ground.
“I knew I couldn’t move and my leg was just really numb,” he said.
“Then after the teachers started coming towards me, the leg started flooding in pain and then it got really bad.”
James underwent seven-hour surgery on Thursday but is likely to need a lot more as his condition is monitored.
He is awaiting the results of a CT scan which will confirm whether or not he will need a hip replacement.
Miss Morton, 41, added: “He’s been doing physio since he had his operation.
“Whether or not the bone has broken down is something that will become evident over the next few weeks.
“Fingers crossed the worst doesn’t happen and he doesn’t need a hip replacement.
“If he does, because he’s just a kid, he’ll have to have another one as he grows up.
“It’s awful to see my little boy suffer so horribly, but he was really brave and came through it so well.”
According to the results of his CT scan, James hopes to be able to return home today (Wednesday), but he will have to rely on crutches while he recovers.
James is incredibly active, but it’s unclear how his injuries will impact his participation in his favorite sports in the future.
Since James’s arrival in London, Miss Morton, mother of nine and grandmother of five, has been at his bedside, which has cost him dearly financially.
With many more trips to London planned, she has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for train tickets from Folkestone Central to Waterloo, which could cost around £54 a time.
She added: “We’re going to have to come here every two weeks for physio and scans because they’re worried the ball in the hip is dying.
“I’ve been here for a week, so it’s also food, and I had to buy clothes from James.
“Everything is very expensive when it is a cost that we do not expect.
“We also need to fund the cost of a new bed for James as he will need a special mattress to be comfortable for his hip.”
“Equipment is fully supervised by staff whenever children use it…”
A Turner Free School spokesperson said staff were “immediately available” to provide first aid to James after he fell.
“Over the summer, we had a new ‘finishing course’ installed so students could enjoy a wider range of activities during breaks and lunch,” they said.
“As always, all risk assessments and safety checks have been carried out and the equipment is fully supervised by staff whenever children are using it.
“When James slipped from the monkey bars, a member of our management team was immediately available and able to provide first aid immediately.
“James’ tutor group has sent him get well cards, and we are all looking forward to welcoming him back to school.”