A sports fanatic teenager has baffled medical experts by living for 10 years with a broken neck that could have killed him at any time.

Alfie Tyson-Brown, 14, led an active life playing rugby, surfing, mountain-bike riding and enjoyed rollercoasters unaware he had broken a bone in his neck when he was a toddler.

He only discovered the injury last month when he started feeling pain and suffered blackouts and poor co-ordination.

He went to hospital for a scan and was immediately immobilised and sent for an emergency three-and-a-half-hour operation to pin the bone.

Alfie, of Wimborne, Dorset, is now expected to make a full recovery.

His father Chris Brown, 50, said he was the luckiest boy alive after doctors told them a serious jolt could have severed his spine.

"Apparently his spinal cord was doing a U-bend when it should have been straight," Mr Brown told the Daily Mail newspaper.

"With all the sport and activities he has done over the years, it is nothing short of a miracle that he is still alive. There must have been a star shining over his head for him to have survived this."

Surgeon Evan Davies, of Southampton General Hospital, said: "In all my years as a spinal surgeon I have never seen anything quite like this.

"It was an unusual operation and incredibly frightening because I was constantly aware that if I got it wrong then he could either suffer a stroke or be permanently paralysed."