A devoted dad has released pictures of his teenage son who has been in a coma for five weeks after a cycling accident.
Ryan Smith, 16, suffered a head injury when he collided with a van as he cycled to work. His heartbroken family say he had chosen not to wear a cycle helmet because he didn't want to ruin his hair.
Ryan has been in coma since the accident in Lincolnshire on July 22.
His paramedic dad, Mark Smith, 44, has kept a vigil at his bedside after initially being told he might not survive the night. Doctors now say if he does wake up, he will probably be brain damaged for life.
Devastated Mr Smith is now urging other cyclists to always wear a helmet.
"When I heard the news I thought typical Ryan he's strong as an ox, it'll be a few scratches and bruises," Mr Smith said, recalling the moment he was told about Ryan's accident. "But when I called the paramedic on scene I found out it was much more serious.
"I always wear a helmet, I always told Ryan to wear a helmet but he is 16, his hair is his life and sadly he has the 'not going to happen to me attitude''."
Mr Smith said like 'any young lad' Ryan thought he was 'invincible'.
"But in a click of your fingers our family's life has changed permanently," he told the said. "I can make my four-year-old wear a helmet but it is harder to tell an image conscious teenager what to do."
Mr Smith said that the issue needs to 'go to Parliament straight away' and that people have no excuse not to go and buy a helmet.
"There is one in everyone's price range and you should wear it even if you're just riding to the shop," he said.
"We don't know yet how much of our son we are going to get back, we will never know if a helmet would have saved him. But I don't want another parent to take that chance."
Ryan is currently being cared for at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire but is awaiting transfer to a specialist neurology unit at Lincoln County Hospital.
Along with his dad, his mum Julie, 46, and his sister Rachael, 21, are at his bedside and say they are cautiously optimistic about his future.
"We spent a week with nothing, then a twitch from his left arm and now he blinks to my voice," his dad said. "Doing the job I do I know how devastating these sort of injuries can be.
"He's a stubborn Smith, a fit young lad and he's fighting, so we owe it to him to believe. I still kiss him like I always have."
Mr Smith has organised a charity bike ride on September 8 to raise awareness for helmet wearing among cyclists, and launched The Ryan Smith Foundation Facebook page to update followers on his progress and raise funds towards his rehabilitation.
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