Crossing the “Stupid Line”


For Immediate Release

August 30, 2018


LHSC urges post-secondary students to think before taking risks

LONDON, Ontario – “It was just one moment… one dumb decision… I felt the screw pop out of the railing, felt myself falling and thought, ‘this is it, I’m a goner’.”


Cole Liley knows he’s lucky to be alive. The 23-year-old was attending a large street party in September of 2017 when his friends called him up to the second floor balcony of a house for a group photo. Cole took the quickest way up – he climbed the balcony. Climbing was not a concern for Liley - as an arborist, he was accustomed to climbing.


“By the time I decided to get down, I realized the window everyone went through to leave had been closed. I had to climb back down,” said Liley. “I crouched down to grab the rails so I could just let myself hang and drop and that’s when it happened.” Suddenly the rail post he was gripping broke, sending him tumbling backwards onto the ground, landing flat on his back and hitting his head on a concrete stone. His next memory is waking up out of an induced coma four days later. He had broken his T6 vertebrae, had three fractures in his skull, bleeding on the brain, other broken bones and was on life-support.


Jane Edwards, Injury Prevention Specialist at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), says stories like Liley’s are a tragic reminder of how quickly fun can turn into tragedy. “There’s a fine line between a smart and stupid risk. We call it the ‘Stupid Line’. Peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and your environment can blur that line. We encourage everyone to know your ‘Stupid Line’ and make smart choices.”


September and October mark the end of “Trauma Season”; the time of year where LHSC sees the most traumatic injuries.  For all age groups, and especially the age group of 16 -24 years, poor choices can lead to life-changing injuries. 


“A couple of simple choices can help ensure you and your friends celebrate safely. Always have a plan for a safe ride home – take a taxi, an Uber, or use a designated driver. And use the buddy system – look out for each other, whether at a house party, concert or walking home. Know your environment.”


After spending a week in hospital, Liley’s family was thrilled to take him home just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. And after taking time to recover physically and emotionally, Liley is back to doing what he loves: caring for trees. “I was a little nervous my first climb back, but I got over it quickly.”


When he goes out, Liley is now the person in the group watching out for others, warning them to be safe. “I think about it now – how easily something can happen you don’t expect. How alert you have to be to what you’re doing. I don’t want anyone going through what I went through just because they made a dumb choice.”


Note to mediaCole Liley, his parents Candace and Jeff Liley, and Jane Edwards, LHSC Injury Prevention Specialist will be available for interviews Thursday, August 30 from 10:30am-12:30pm. Please contact Kathy Leblanc to book an interview time.


About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 142 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 70 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit 



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Kathy Leblanc

Corporate Communications and Public Relations

London Health Sciences Centre

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