Freak bike injury leaves 12-year-old with brain injury

HERMISTON, Ore. -- It's the kind of thing that could happen to anyone, but you'd hope would happen to no one. A young boy went over the handlebars on his bike, and now he's left with a traumatic brain injury. The 11-year-old was wearing a helmet. His bike just fell apart under his feet.

On the surface, Caleb Moore looks like your average 12-year-old.

"Who he was before is definitely not the kid he is now. There's some days that are good days, and when he has bad days it's a struggle for us emotionally," said Caleb's mother, Rachel Moore.

The middle of five kids, Caleb was riding his bike home from school with his brother about a year and a half ago. The boys' father was driving alongside them.

"The bike broke. Then the front wheel broke apart," said Noah Moore, Caleb's younger brother. "He hit his chin."

Calebs' front wheel somehow detached from the frame. He went over the handlebars and onto the pavement.

"Initially, at first, I just thought broken teeth and a split chin, and, on the way to the hospital, he was saying he could feel a bone inside his mouth," said Caleb's father, Tom.

Even with a bike helmet, the damage was severe. The impact broke Caleb's jaw and took nearly a year to fix, but he also had a severe brain injury.

The impact is equivalent to shaken baby syndrome. Caleb has had four surgeries, but he may have the tendencies of a four-year-old for the rest of his life - and he may go blind.

"Lots of tears, very sad, because I know he is in pain and, as a mother, you want to take the pain away and you can't," said Rachel.

"Kind of comes back whenever we see other children out there riding bikes without helmets on," said Tom.

His parents are on a mission to get Caleb's story out: Bike safety doesn't start or end with a helmet.

"It's the first thing I've always hung their helmets on their bike and made them put them on so that they had a helmet on, but I've never checked the bike frame for cracks," said Rachel.

There will be a fundraiser for Caleb's medical expenses next month. If you would like to learn more or donate, Caleb has a Facebook page called "Caleb's Traumatic Brain injury."