Bus driver helps RECOVER research

15 Apr 2019

Mark Anderson is a school bus driver who takes road safety very seriously.

“When you have thirty-plus young souls in your bus, you want to do everything you can to ensure they arrive safely to and from school. As bus drivers, we are trained to know and follow every road rule, to be constantly aware of other road users and respond defensively if required. ”

But even highly experienced drivers like Mark can find themselves unwittingly involved in a road crash. Last October, Mark was coming home from a shift at work when his motorcycle brakes inexplicably locked up. The bike went from travelling sixty kilometres an hour to zero, instantly. Mark was thrown head first over the handlebars of the bike in a downhill direction and on to the road.

“It was a surreal experience that all happened so quickly. One minute I was riding down the road and the next I was airborne! It’s a miracle I wasn’t killed, that I didn’t break my neck or even get run over by another car.” 

XRay of Broken Shoulder
An X-Ray of Mark's broken shoulder

Motorcycle riders are one of the most vulnerable road users and they are more likely to be injured in crashes than many other road users[1]Mark was no exception. Although he was grateful not to be catastrophically injured, he did sustain some very serious injuries. The crash shattered the bones in one shoulder, dislocated the other shoulder and left him with a number of contusions over his body. He also broke a tooth and sustained a great deal of ‘gravel rash’.

Mark was transported by ambulance to the Royal Brisbane Hospital and later transferred to St Andrews Hospital where he underwent surgery on his right shoulder. After a few days in hospital, Mark was sent home to begin his long rehabilitation journey.

“I was very fortunate that the accident occurred on my way home from work as this meant that I was covered by WorkCover. This means all my medical expenses and wages are taken care of; thank goodness for that, as since October I have had nine visits to the surgeon and doctor, seven to a dentist and 32 ongoing visits to a physio. Recovering from the injuries has been a full-time job!”

Mark has been helping RECOVER researchers understand the pattern of recovery after injuries sustained in road crashes. He is participating in a study called Functional Outcomes Following a Road Traffic Crash. The research, conducted by the Facilitating Return to Pre-injury Functioning team, aims to understand how injuries affect employment and everyday function. Mark has completed a number of surveys for the team and will continue to be followed-up over the next six months.

“I am more than happy to help the researchers and hope I can help other people by contributing to the research. I’m not sure I will ever get full function back in my right arm, but I will continue to do all I can to have the best outcomes.”

Six months after the accident, Mark has returned to driving his own car is looking forward to returning to work as a bus-driver. Mark is also ‘getting back on the bike’ so to speak.


[1] Motorcycle Safety. State of the Road. A Fact Sheet of the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety Queensland (CARRS-Q). (PDF, 299 KB)