Little Paddy taking major steps forward in recovery

Patrick O'Sullivan is fighting for his life in a Brisbane hospital after falling from a ride at a school fete.
Patrick O'Sullivan is fight back from a severe head injury sustained in a fall from an amusement ride. Contributed

A YOUNG boy critically injured in a amusement ride accident at a school fete has started talking to his parents in a major step forward in his recovery.

Paddy O'Sullivan suffered a severe head injury when he was thrown 10 metres from a spinning Frisbee ride at the Mary MacKillop Catholic School's fete on May 19.

He was flown by emergency helicopter to the Brisbane Mater Children's Hospital after the incident and placed in intensive care.

To the relief of his parents, he started to emerge from an induced coma a few days later.

His father Barry O'Sullivan Jnr yesterday said Paddy's recovery was progressing well, although he had a long journey ahead.

He said Paddy had at least 12 to 14 weeks of intensive therapy ahead at the Mater and possibly a further 12 months of rehabilitation after that.

The family was appreciative of the community's care and concern.

However, he said the family was keen to try to get their life back into routine and were wary of living their lives in the glare of publicity.

Paddy's plight became a major international story, particularly online where the five-year-old's accident sparked an outpouring of sympathy.

Up to yesterday, a Facebook post about Paddy's recovery had been seen by more than 230,000 people.

The accident has prompted calls for the State Government to review safety laws governing amusement rides.

Law firm McNamara and Associates senior associate Abe Arends said laws governing operators of amusement rides needed urgent review.

Mr Arends wants changes made so that is necessary for an engineer to certify that a ride is safe.

He said incidents like that involving Patrick could have been avoided with more stringent health and safety requirements in the operations of amusement rides.

"It is just not sufficient to have yearly inspections when operating amusement rides that move fast in confined areas.

"This is not the first time such an incident of this nature has occurred involving amusement rides and without appropriate and regular inspections by a competent certified engineer then it is likely these events will occur again."

WorkSafe Queensland has issued an alert to amusement ride operators warning them to be particularly stringent with ride safety requirements, in particular passenger height restrictions.