Sean’s journey to recovery

Bendigo boy Sean Bell has been reunited with the paramedics who came to his rescue after an accident in 2015.

Sean was 12 years old when he and his brother set out for a bike ride to Cooinda Park on November 22. But during the trip, Sean lost his balance and veered onto the road and into traffic.

On Friday, Sean was reunited with the four Ambulance Victoria officers – Mal Whitehead, Janine Sutton, Sean Penno and Roger Dark – who came to his aid after the accident.

Mum, Claire, said it was a chance to say thank you to the paramedics who made such a difference in their lives.

“It was a really good experience – something good that has happened since then,” she said. “But it doesn’t seem like it was enough.”

Sean was hit by a car travelling at 60km/h and ended up with a fractured skull, collarbone and pelvis; a shattered leg; numerous skin grafts; and countless stitches.


What followed has been an almost two-year recovery process for Sean, who spent spent five days in a coma at The Royal Children’s Hospital following the accident.

Today, he is almost back to where he was before the accident and Friday was a chance for the paramedics to see Sean’s progress since that day.

Paramedic Mal Whitehead said it was great to be able to see Sean doing so well following the crash. “Myself, Roger, Sean and Jan were all pretty excited to see him doing so well and very appreciative of the family for their thanks,” he said.

“We don’t do it for thanks so when we do get it, it’s very much a surprise and very much appreciated.”

Mr Whitehead said the paramedics were such a small cog in Sean’s outcome.

“We’ve had Sean in our care for 25 minutes and his recovery has been two years,” he said. “So our role has been quite small.”

In the days following the crash, and again this week, Mr Whitehead praised the efforts of bystanders who came to help at the scene, with one man comforting Sean while he was readied for transport.

Mr Whitehead also acknowledged the help from police and SES on the day, with members not hesitating to help in ways not typically asked of them.

Mrs Bell said Friday was also a chance for the family to hear about the help Sean received from people at the scene.  

“You thank them with everything you can,” she said of their assistance.

“Just for them to help under those circumstances, because it was pretty gruesome, was truly amazing really.”

Mrs Bell also praised Sean’s school at the time, Specimen Hill, who went above and beyond for Sean and also organised for Bulldogs players to visit him when he was in hospital.