A TEENAGER who suffered serious head injuries after hitting a tree in a sledging accident is still fighting for his life in hospital today.

Liam Stafford, 16, who attends Trinity Catholic College, on Saltersgill Avenue, Middlesbrough, fell off his sledge at speed in Flatts Lane Country Park, Normanby, Middlesbrough at 1pm on Sunday.

He was airlifted to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance where his condition is described as critical but stable. He is currently in intensive care with head injuries.

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Peter Coady, head of Trinity Catholic College, said: “The whole community of Trinity Catholic College is deeply upset following the news of Liam’s accident. The prayers and thoughts of us all are sent to him and his family for a full and speedy recovery.”

Liam’s cousin Grace Taylor said: “We just want him to pull through. That is what we are praying and hoping for.

“I went to see him last night and there wasn’t really much change.

“We’ve had so much support and so many kind messages and we want to thank everyone for that.”

Liam is a member of North Ormesby A Under-16s football team and on a normal Sunday afternoon would have been on the football pitch, but matches were cancelled due to the weather.

Wendy Cross, from the club, said: “We just want to say we are thinking about him. We can’t believe it has happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Team manager Kevin Brownlee said: “He is a popular lad and the boys are all friends. They have all grown up together. All the lads are in shock. I am sending him my best wishes and to his family too.”

Cleveland Mountain Rescue teams said there were three separate sledging accidents on Sunday.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service called mountain rescue out to the old quarry area in Great Ayton woods, North Yorkshire, after a 40-year-old woman broke her ankle after falling from a sledge at speed. She was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance.

Cleveland Mountain Rescue was also called out to the Flatts Lane accident, then a third call came at 1.50pm to a young girl who had sustained back injuries while sledging on the Eston Hills.

Gary Finch, a spokesman for the mountain rescue team, said: “It is not difficult to understand how everyone, no matter what age, enjoys sledging. Clearly it is not without risks.

“Just as the Team advise everyone who is mountain biking of the value of wearing a helmet we would equally advise people to try to minimise the risks while sledging.

“Try looking for a slope which has a gently run out at the end and is free from obstacles. Boulders can easily be hidden by snow.

“Avoid slopes which run down into trees. Wearing a helmet – although possibly not very cool – clearly minimises the risk of head injuries. By all means enjoy the snow – but stay safe.”