Liam Raybould suffers serious head injury in Illawarra Highway crash

Liam Raybould was thrown from a vehicle and sustained serious head injuries after the car he was travelling in on the Illawarra Highway at Burrawang left the road and struck a tree. Pictures: Burrawang Rural Fire Brigade
Liam Raybould was thrown from a vehicle and sustained serious head injuries after the car he was travelling in on the Illawarra Highway at Burrawang left the road and struck a tree. Pictures: Burrawang Rural Fire Brigade

Three weeks after being thrown from a vehicle on the Illawarra Highway, a 15-year-old boy is steadily recovering from injuries which left him unable to eat or breathe on his own. 

Liam Raybould was staying with his best friend’s family when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident on the Illawarra Highway around 11.30pm on August 21. 

The Bowral High teen sustained serious head injuries and was taken to Liverpool Hospital where he was placed in an induced coma for five days. 

Liam will have to stay in hospital as an inpatient in rehab and this could take weeks, months – it all comes down to Liam.

Liam’s mum Stacey Raybould said the week it took for Liam to wake up was an excruciating waiting game. 

“I got the worst call of my life,” Ms Raybould said.  

“For me, this is still so raw and I am still waiting to wake up from this terrible dream. I am still in shock.”

The 15-year-old was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in a critical but stable condition. Police have been told the driver of the car Liam was travelling in swerved to avoid a wombat on the road.

The 15-year-old was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in a critical but stable condition. Police have been told the driver of the car Liam was travelling in swerved to avoid a wombat on the road.

After waking up from an induced coma, Liam had several surgeries, including one to relieve pressure on his brain and others to facilitate feeding tubes and a breathing ventilator. 

“Liam will be fitted for a head helmet for protection as he had part of his skull removed,” Ms Raybould said.  

“The skull will not be put back in for six months to let it heal.”

Steady progress: 15-year-old Liam Raybould was thrown from a vehicle on the Illawarra Highway, Burrawang on the evening of August 21. Photo: supplied.

Steady progress: 15-year-old Liam Raybould was thrown from a vehicle on the Illawarra Highway, Burrawang on the evening of August 21. Photo: supplied.

Over the next two weeks Liam steadily progressed to having nearly all the tubes removed and breathing comfortably on his own before he was moved from the ICU to a ward where his progress has continued. 

Ms Raybould said while Liam is breathing on his own, walking a few steps with assistance and responding to commands, he is still not yet speaking and has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him. 

“Liam is now in a neurologist ward while we wait for The Children’s Hospital, Westmead to get a bed for him in the brain injury unit,” Ms Raybould said.  

“Liam will have to stay in hospital as an inpatient in rehab and this could take weeks, months – it all comes down to Liam.”

Family members have set up a GoFundMe to assist with the costs of travelling and accommodation until Liam is moved to Westmead.

Once there, accommodation and general support will be provided to the family by Ronald McDonald House. 

“Liam unfortunately still has a long highway to travel.

“My son has been given a second chance.”