An accident on 42nd Avenue in Brookswood Tuesday evening sent a cyclist to hospital. He’s since undergone 12 hours of brain surgery. (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Service)

Struck Langley cyclist survives 12 hours of brain surgery

Trauma team at Royal Columbian Hospital commended for efforts to save Nicolas Sowinski

A grandmother is eternally grateful to the trauma team that treated Nick Sowinski at hospital last night.

Her 21-year-old grandson was struck on his bike, just outside his Brookswood home, Tuesday evening.

He was airlifted to Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH), and ended up rushed into two back-to-back brain surgeries.

The medical team came out after the first six-hour surgery, called his mother, Jennifer, and told her she could see him, his grandmother, Crystal Austin, recounted. Then they called back “two minutes later” to say they had to rush him back in to surgery again for a bleed discovered on the other side of his brain.

“He’s a survivor, and my belief system says he’s going to be just fine,” Austin said of her determined young grandson.

RELATED: PHOTOS: Cyclist struck by pickup in Brookswood

“He’s going to make a miraculous recovery,” she added, noting how Nick’s father joked he had a hard Sowinski head, basically assuring he’ll make it through this ordeal.

In addition to suffering head trauma in the crash with a pickup truck, Nick has a list of other injuries, as well.

After getting through the brain surgeries, the medical team at RCH turned its attentions to his two broken ankles, a broken femur, and a dislocated hip – among other injuries, said grandma.

The accident occurred just in front of the Sowinski’s house in the 20400-block of 42nd Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“No one saw it happen, but they heard the crash,” grandma said, his aunt, Brandi, there within minutes to hold his hand and reassure him.

He was awake and aware for a time on scene, but lost consciousness before he was airlifted to hospital, recounted Austin, who also arrived on scene a short time after.

“She took his hand, said something like ‘Nick it’s aunty Brandi,’ and he squeezed her hand lightly. He was breathing well at that time. I was second family member at the scene. I said ‘Nick, it’s Grandma,’ to no response.”

She’s since been told he had to be put on a ventilator while being transported in helicopter and was in a comma prior to surgery.

“It was very touch and go,” she said. “But he did survive two six-hour brain surgeries. He’s a fighter.”

She’s unclear yet how he’s doing – Nick’s mother getting to go and see him tonight [Wednesday]. But Austin’s convinced her Nicky – as she calls him – will be okay. He’s one of her five grandchildren.

She wanted to express her appreciation to those who fought “so hard” to save him.

“I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the trauma team,” she said, who plucked Nick from the helicopter and went to work, toiling tirelessly throughout the night.

“They don’t go into this profession for the thanks. But I feel it’s important to express my thanks… they actually care and worked as a team to save his life. I want to thank them for choosing the medical profession as their career,” she said, also sending thanks to the hospital greeter who went out of her way to calm an “hysterical” grandmother when she first arrived panic and distraught at RCH.

Although Nick will undoubtedly face a long stretch of rehabilitation, Austin is eternally optimistic and extremely grateful.

In fact, expecting he will be in a wheelchair for some time to come, Mom is already thinking ahead. She’s on the hunt for a new place to live that can accommodate Nick’s expected mobility limitation, his dog, and “his mother.”



Is there more to this story?


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Nick Sowinski (Special to Langley Advance Times)

An accident on 42nd Avenue in Brookswood Tuesday evening sent a cyclist to hospital. He’s since undergone 12 hours of brain surgery. (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Service)

Just Posted

Township looks at ‘next possible steps’ to re-open Walnut Grove pool to competition

Review is only an update, not ‘prescriptive,’ mayor Froese cautioned

Falling tree claims life in Langley

Victim was reportedly out for a walk on a rural road

Fort Langley artists extend traditional season on virtual gallery

Group’s latest exhibition is a seasonally themed show called Autumn Bounty

Langley wildlife centre desperate for caregivers

Critter Care is in need of co-op students as COVID curtails number of international interns

LETTER: Election nothing more than a ‘farce’ called by opportunists

A Langley man is critical of being sent to the polls with little chance to know his candidates

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read