By: Kate Anslinger
16-year-old Bradley Willoughby from Queensland, Australia, was nearly decapitated by the most unlikely of cell phone accessories while motorbiking on his parents’ farm.
Even though he had taken all the standard precautions, such as a sturdy bike helmet, he had overlooked a threat that most people are completely unaware of.
Beneath his helmet was a pair of corded earbuds—typical, everyday ones like these:
As he sped through the turf on his motorbike, he awkwardly landed a jump, skidded, and drove right into a barbed wire fence—dislocating and breaking his ankle, and causing a gash on his belly:
But that was the least of his injuries.
Upon impact, since his earbuds were secured under his helmet, they didn’t pop off, and instead the rubber coating on the earbuds’ chords were pulled off, revealing the sturdy copper wires within.
It was these copper wires that, upon impact, placed so much pressure on Bradley’s neck that he was nearly decapitated, as you can see in this graphic photo:
According to the boy’s father, who removed the chords from his son while waiting for paramedics to arrive, the copper wires were deep, but narrowly missed his trachea.
Although Bradley and his parents are relieved that he will survive and recover, they are sending out a strong warning to other parents:
“Do not wear wired earphones under a motorbike helmet,” said Bradley’s mom, “It’s potentially life-threatening.”
Luckily, there are some easy alternatives to this earbud danger, including the use of wireless bluetooth versions that don’t pose the risk of being choked or strangled by the cords. Better yet, don’t listen to music while riding. It is safer to have all your senses focused on what is going on.