Boy who broke back in sledge accident to climb Eiffel Tower as thank you

Teenager Filip Cegar is preparing to climb the Eiffel Tower as a thank you to the people who helped him recover (Adam Davy/PA)
Teenager Filip Cegar is preparing to climb the Eiffel Tower as a thank you to the people who helped him recover (Adam Davy/PA)

A schoolboy who broke his back in a sledging accident is to climb the Eiffel Tower seven months on to raise money to thank the team who supported his recovery.

Filip Cegar, 13, had to learn to walk again after the accident in December 2022, in which he broke both his back and breastbone.

Surgeons at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (RACH) had to realign the teenager’s spine and fix his spinal cord in place to prevent any further damage.

He has made such a positive recovery he is now preparing to leave for Paris next week to climb the 674 steps up the Eiffel Tower and raise money for the hospital and The Archie Foundation charity.

Filip, a pupil at Cults Academy, was sledging with a friend as he had done many times when the accident happened in Bieldside near Aberdeen on December 8 last year.

He said: “Me and my best friend were going to sledge at the golf course.

“We had been there many times but we saw a place we had never been to before so we decided to go from the very top of the hill and just close our eyes and rush to the bottom.

“The last thing I remember is feeling fear and I remember my friend pulling me up on to the sledge, but he couldn’t manage to pull me all the way up.

“He had to run back up to the golf clubhouse to get some help.”

Filip’s dad Petar rushed from the family home in Milltimber to the golf club, to find his son lying on the ground and unable to move.

The injured teenager was taken by ambulance to the RACH, where he underwent an urgent operation led by consultant neurosurgeon Mr James Walkden, to realign his spine and fix the bones in place.

Mr Cegar said: “I had spent many hours watching Filip and his friends sledge but that day the boys went on their own for the first time.

“When I got there, he was lying there on the snow. People were around him covering him with jackets.

“We didn’t know what was happening but we could see he couldn’t move his legs or arms and he was screaming in pain. The first estimates were not good.”

He added: “Filip was literally broken in half because he broke his back and sternum.

“Before the operation, Mr Walkden said he didn’t want to raise any hopes, but luckily he didn’t break his spinal cord.

“I can’t tell you the feeling – I had to sit down. Immediately after the surgery Filip started to have some control and some movement, not even 24 hours on.

“I can’t praise the professionalism of all the staff enough. The Archie Foundation gave us a room and we were shown so much patience and goodwill. We could not have asked for more.”

Filip was later transferred to the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow, where he had to learn to walk again.

He said: “Nothing that serious had ever happened to me before. I was so happy the surgery worked but I was so weak and tired lying in bed and I didn’t know if I was going to be OK.

“The physiotherapist helped me first to stand up, then slowly start walking, and over the course of two weeks I was already climbing up the stairs.”

The 13-year-old’s last operation took place in Aberdeen on July 7, when his surgical team removed all the metal from his spine.

He is now preparing to climb the Eiffel Tower to give something back to those who cared for him.

The money he raises from his Parisian challenge will be used to buy a recliner chair for the hospital’s high dependency unit, which will allow other families to sit by their child’s bedside in comfort.

Any additional money will help to fund a room in the Archie Foundation’s family centre, where families can stay at RACH at no cost while their child is a patient.

The Archie Foundation exists to transform experiences and outcomes in healthcare and bereavement for babies, children and families across North Scotland.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at