Thea Maxfield suffered a 'hangman's break' when she fell from her dressage horse. When she tried to get up, the 26-year-old was shocked to realise that her head stayed where it was.
As she knew that she had to move out or get stamped by her horse, Thea cupped her hands around her own head and lifted it into place so as to avoid damaging her spinal cord, Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
"As soon as I came off the horse I knew something was wrong. I went to get up but my head stayed on the floor."
"I couldn't move my neck or my head and I had to literally pick my head up and carry it in my hands," she was quoted as saying.
An x-ray revealed the hangman's fracture, which got its name due to people sent to the gallows. It involves a clean break of the upper cervical vertebra. "My horse was galloping around and I just had to get out of the way. When we arrived at the hospital I was told that this type of fracture can kill people," she said.
Thea was initially warned that she may be permanently paralysed. But doctors fixed a permanent brace to her neck for three months to help fuse the bones back together.
Seven months later, Thea was riding again.
The media report said that Thea is the first person in the world to undergo treatment for a broken neck using a specially-adapted head brace connected to a computer by sensors.