SIMON Cowell is fortunate not to be paralyzed after breaking his back in three places when his electric bike fell.
Simon, 60, who needed six hours of surgery, nearly injured his spinal cord by an inch.
A source said: “He could have envisioned a life in a wheelchair.”
Cowell fell and broke his back after trying out a powerful new electric bike – and accidentally pulling a wheelie.
His six-year-old son Eric and his partner Lauren Silverman’s teenager Adam watched in horror as Simon, 60, fall backwards and crash into a concrete floor in his Los Angeles home.
A source said: “He was testing his new bike with Eric and Adam and the power of it surprised him a bit.
“He landed straight on his back and immediately knew he was in trouble. He was doing badly.
Simon needed nearly six hours of surgery to insert a metal rod into his spine after breaking three vertebrae.
He now faces a long hospital stay – missing his plans to star in the live-action launch of the new America’s Got Talent tomorrow night.
Doctors told the television mogul he was “very lucky” that he did not suffer crippling injuries.
Simon is believed to have failed to damage his spinal cord – part of the body’s central nervous system – by an inch.
The source said: “It was a very, very bad fall – but he’s very lucky to have escaped his injuries.
“If he had damaged the spinal cord he could have watched life in a wheelchair, but thanks to the doctors he hopes he can make a full recovery.
Christopher Reeve, of Hollywood, spent the last decade of his life in a wheelchair after damaging his spinal cord in a fall from a horse.
‘FIVE HOURS OPERATION’
Simon was taken to Providence Saint John Hospital in Santa Monica, a short drive from his £ 18million beachfront property in Malibu.
Lauren, 43, joined him at the medical center on Saturday afternoon. He was then taken to the theater for an operation by some of California’s top surgeons.
He was in the theater for more than five hours, under general anesthesia, as doctors inserted a series of screws and a metal rod to stabilize his spine.
Simon was awake today talking to medical staff and his team members by phone.
He now faces an anxious wait to find out the extent of the damage – and almost certainly has to face a long hospital stay.
His relatives hope he won’t suffer lasting effects, but say it could take “several weeks” before he knows for sure.
A source added: “He’s just come out of surgery and is feeling very groggy, but he’s wide awake and upbeat.
“Everyone is hoping he makes a full recovery, but they don’t want to count their chickens just yet.
“In the end he had a very, very serious accident.
“He’s lucky to be as he is with a metal rod on his back and multiple breaks.
“It will take several weeks for the bruising and swelling to go away, and then we will know how severe the lasting effects could be.”
A spokesperson for The X Factor and the boss of Britain’s Got Talent said: “Simon broke his back in several places when his bike fell while testing a new electric bike in the backyard. her home in Malibu with her family.
“He was taken to the hospital where they operated overnight. He is under observation and is doing well.
Simon, a workaholic who discussed business from his hospital bed after returning from anesthesia, is now likely to miss a series of television engagements – most notably AGT.
Insiders say he is optimistically hoping to be well enough to return for the end of the new AGT series in late September.
The America’s Got Talent final is set for September 23, with Simon planning to return home the next day so he can also be at the Britain’s Got Talent final.
‘LIVED LIKE A VAMPIRE’
A source added: “We’ll see how he goes. If he was successful he would be back at work on Monday, but we’re more likely to aim for the AGT final.
“It is too early to think of anything else or BGT at this point.”
Simon spent a year getting back into shape after a health crisis. In December, he recounted how he dropped four waistlines after cutting red meat and reducing his sugar intake.
He lost even more weight by continuing his locked-out healthy diet in Los Angeles.
Simon decided to act after injuring himself in a fall on the stairs of his London home in October 2017.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance and diagnosed with low blood pressure.
Simon blamed him on his unhealthy lifestyle. He said he “lived like a vampire”, staying awake until 8 a.m. everyday.
The bike accident comes days after The Sun revealed Simon would miss the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals for the first time.
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He won’t be there in person as changes in filming schedules caused by Covid-19 have led to a clash between the US and UK versions of the series.
A source revealed: “Simon is emptied of not being physically there for the semi-finals, but he will be there virtually, eyeing talent and conveying his point of view in every show.
“He can keep an eye on David Walliams to make sure he doesn’t get too fat for his shoes while Simon is in the United States.
“Normally the schedules mean Simon can do both, but AGT’s dates haven’t changed while BGT’s dates have been due to the coronavirus.”
Agony to come
By Carol Cooper, Doctor Sun
An injury like this can have very serious consequences, including paralysis.
The type of fractures that people suffer from weak bones due to osteoporosis are compression fractures and they heal on their own.
But with a traumatic fracture like Simon’s, there’s a good chance you’ll need surgery to realign bone fragments.
Even if you don’t have disastrous neurological effects at the time of injury, an unstable fracture can lead to complications after the injury.
If the vertebral fragments are not aligned, it can put pressure on the spinal cord.
In Simon’s case, surgeons had to repair the fracture internally to stabilize the bones.
Initial pain is to be expected, but in the weeks that follow he may endure pain and difficulty walking.
If he had had more severe effects from the pressure on the spinal cord, he may have been unable to move his legs.
Considering the fracture was a centimeter from his spine, Simon could have been very close to becoming a paraplegic or even quadriplegic, where all limbs are paralyzed.
He will no doubt need physiotherapy to help him recover.
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