Wednesday 20 February 2019

Irish national rugby anthem leads to emotional breakthrough in recovery of teacher who suffered brain injury

Aisling Brady with her brother Mark
Aisling Brady with her brother Mark

Louise Walsh

The Irish national rugby anthem 'Ireland's Call' has led to the first breakthrough in the recovery of a young Meath woman - who was flown home from Dubai after suffering an acquired brain injury.

Aisling Brady (27) from Trim was moved five weeks ago to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dublin's Dun Laoghaire from the Mater Hospital, where she has been since she was flown home from Dubai last January.

The teacher collapsed when she arrived at school in November and hit her head on the floor.  While travelling to hospital, she suffered multiple seizures and the first of a number of cardiac arrests on reaching the hospital before having a stroke which caused serious brain damage.

Her condition was caused by a pulmonary embolism which had formed in her leg over a period of time, rushing up to her heart and eventually ending up caught in her lungs.

Aisling Brady was transferred to hospital in Ireland following a fundraising campaign
Aisling Brady was transferred to hospital in Ireland following a fundraising campaign

A Gofundme page, set up to bring her home and help costs of care and has reached over €144,000 to date.

Determined Aisling is working hard at intensive physiotheraphy but at present, she cannot speak and can only slightly move her arms and legs.

Although staff are hoping for long-term improvements, she is also coming to terms with the news that she will need full-time care for the rest of her life.

"She is in the NRC until October, which we are hoping will be extended as we don't feel it will be long enough to see any developments," said Aisling's mum Antoinette.

"She now knows the whole story so has understandably had a few emotional outbursts and is receiving counselling.

"She has lost a bit of her sight which has become a bit blurred but her hearing has become acute.

"The staff at the centre are just amazing.  I can't praise them enough and I'm hoping Aisling will get to stay on past her discharge date.

"We've set up a system where Aisling nods her head for yes and shakes for no, and frowns for I don't know

"We also have an alphabet chart with the most frequent letters on the top so we will call these out to her and she blinks to choose the letter to help her spell out words.

However it was only last week, when Aisling had her first big breakthrough in her progress.

"Aisling always loved rugby and played it in Dubai.  They say singing is easier than speaking so I just sat beside her and started singing Ireland's Call.

"All of a sudden, I heard her making guttural sounds and making shapes with her lips to mouth 'Ireland'.

"She was so excited to hear her voice so we just kept singing and singing and when we finally stopped, she was beaming.

"She needs to believe things are improving so she needs these little breakthroughs and she has since did it for her dad and brother.  It's quite overwhelming."

Antoinette has also hugely thanked family, friends and the wider community for all the help and support since Aisling became ill.

The GoFundme page which will now go to her care can be accessed here.

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