Paralympic goal for Sedgefield cyclist after remarkable recovery from crash which left him in coma

Ben Hetherington is back on his bike five days a week as part of his training to fulfil his Paralympic dreams. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A cyclist from Sedgefield has Paralympic glory in his sights after undergoing a remarkable recovery from a crash which left him in a coma.

Ben Hetherington was involved in the collision with a car in 2019 which badly injured both his body and brain, and resulted him in being put into an induced coma.

The 26-year-old has spent the last three years recovering - learning to walk and ride again - and now he aims to be at the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024.

His ambitions are building on his recent success, winning silver in the C3 category of the 3k pursuit at The British Cycling National Championships.

Ben said: "I've always had that real drive to prove everyone wrong. And that's helped me in my recovery as well.

"They were like what do you want to get back to? I said riding my bike. It's my life. It's my dream to be a professional cyclist and I'm not going to let this accident stop me."

Ben Hetherington was put into an induced coma following the collision in 2019 Credit: Hetherington Family

Following the collision that changed the course of his cycling career, Ben had to undergo surgery and then months of rehabilitation.

Part of that was at Walkergate Park, in Newcastle, a specialist facility where experts were with him every step of his journey.

They were amazed at his progress - and determination. Ben was there for around four months and could barely stand when he arrived.

Occupational therapist Jo Wallis said Ben even became too quick for the team to run alongside him during sessions

Before the collision Ben had enjoyed cycling success, even winning a stage of the 2019 Tour of Morocco. But his recent silver medal is the one which means the most.

Ben said: "That was my first comeback to racing in nearly three year and to get a second [place], I thought is this really happening? Am I dreaming?"

Ben on his silver medal win The British Cycling National Championships this year

Ben has thanked his friends, family and the health experts for their support. Now he has another goal - to represent his country on the Paralympic stage.

Ben Hetherington on his ambitions for the Paralympics and beyond