ELITE sportsmen and women often suffer setbacks on their way to the top, and Ermington local Mitchell Chaston is no exception.
While he may not be quite at that elite level yet, the 15-year-old has had his fair share of injuries.
He recently returned from his first BMX racing competition in England.
But had an accident at a race meet in the Blue Mountains a few years ago gone fractionally worse, he may not have had the opportunity to compete at the World Championships in Birmingham.
"I just jumped, flipped the bike and landed back first on the concrete," he said.
"I was on the ground for an hour before they moved me.
"The doctor said if I had landed any further back I would have broken my spine."
His father Ian Chaston recalled the moment he watched as his son lay motionless in the middle of the track.
"I couldn't see him but I knew he was laid out on the track," he said.
"I was sitting three feet back listening to him cry his eyes out and he couldn't move his legs."
But the scare wasn't enough to keep Mitchell off two wheels and after about three weeks of recovery he was back on the bike.
"When I was in the hospital the first thing I asked the doctor was 'When am I going to be able to ride my bike again?' and they all laughed at me," he said.
"Sometimes you make it and sometimes you might not, but it's still fun."
In the last six years Mitchell has won two state titles and has not finished outside the top three.
He splits his time between his parents' homes at Ermington and McGraths Hill.
Since BMX's inception into the Olympics in 2008, Mitchell said it is most riders' dream to compete at the games.
At his current pace, the teenager is riding nicely towards the Olympics at Rio in 2016.