Steve’s faceplant on footpath highlights disrepair of walkway

ABOVE: Steve Symonds hurt his face when he fell on a footpath at Tabulam. Photos: contributed

Susanna Freymark

Steve Symonds was walking his dog along the footpath in Tabulam a week ago. It was night time but he had a torch.

As he was passing Tabulam Public School, he caught his foot on a raised piece of concrete in the path.

“I put my left arm out to stop my fall and landed on my face,” Steve said.

He has a type of injury that is called a colles fracture in his wrist plus bruising and cuts to his face and neck from the fall.

There is only one footpath on one side of the road going into Tabulam village.

Steve said the footpath has been in disrepair for years.

Most evenings he goes for a walk.

Sometimes he walks to the post office to check for mail and then watches Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at the Tabulam pub while he has a beer and pizza.

It’s a social night, he said as everyone in the pub tries to answer the questions. Even his dog likes the social occasion.

The night he fell, he was on his way to the pub and had not had anything to drink.

“Now, I’ll have to drive,” Steve said.

Steve, 76, is well known in the area as a weather expert for ABC Radio.

Today, Thursday, May 18, he and Jill Adam from the Tabulam Progress Association were supposed to meet with Kyogle Council staff but the meeting was called off at the last minute, Steve said, because the staff member was ill.

Jill said she too has stumbled on the same footpath. She grazed the heel of her hand and knee and tore a hole in the leg of her pants. That was a year ago.

Steve’s fall was on Tuesday, May 9. He has spoken to deputy mayor Tom Cooper about the incident.

Jill said it was lucky for Steve that a neighbour was home nearby when he fell.

“They assisted Steven to stanch the flow of blood down his face and give him comfort for the pain he was suffering while the son called the ambulance,” Jill said.

As the days passed since his fall, bruising appeared on Steve’s face.

“Steven was taken to Lismore Base Hospital by ambulance and has a follow-up visit next week to see if he needs surgery on his wrist.”

“The X-rays showed a colles fracture of his left radius bone, a cracked right cheekbone and he has a huge black eye and lots of bruising down past his chin,” Jill said.

“Steven also injured his knee and seriously scraped the skin from his forehead, cheek and nose as well as on his fractured arm and the damaged leg.”

Jill said this “serious, disfiguring and disabling accident” could have been avoided if the Tabulam Progress Association and residents had been taken more seriously.

The footpath and the road in and out of Tabulam have been in a state of disrepair for a long time with minor filling of potholes happening every now and then.

Jill and Steve want action taken on the footpath.

“There’s just one footpath – it should be good,” Steve said. will follow up this story with Kyogle Council.

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