'It can happen in a second and change your life forever' - mum's safety warning as son remains in coma one year after accident
Darren Corrigan was injured in a quad bike accident just weeks before his 21st birthday and his mum has appealed to people to always wear a helmet
The mother of a young Wexford man who has been in a coma for more than a year following a catastrophic accident, has urged people to always wear a helmet.
Darren Corrigan, from Screen Co Wexford, was injured in a quad bike accident just weeks before his 21st birthday.
The accident occurred on June 23 2016 when he went for a spin in a field at Sandy Lane in his local area.
His mum Maresa, speaking to the Wexford people, said he left without a helmet despite words of advice from his dad.
The GAA and soccer player hit a bump in the field. The quad bike went up in the air and struck him on the side of the head as it landed.
His parents had no idea in the aftermath of the incident how serious his injuries would prove to be.
He was rushed to Wexford General Hospital and was later transferred to Beaumont for life-saving brain surgery.
"We would like to make people aware of the dangers of driving quads without a helmet. I would like to say to people to please wear helmets. Colm was always giving out to Darren about it, even the evening it happened. There were two helmets on the worktop that evening but Darren left without a helmet.
"People think it's okay because they're not driving out on the road. An accident can happen in a second and it can change your life forever," Maresa told the paper.
At the time of the accident Darren, the eldest in his family, had recently taken over as manager of the family business C&C hardware.
Darren has three siblings, Killian and Shéan, now involved in the family business, and a six-year old sister Alicia.
He has now been in a coma for 13 months and is visited every day by his family.
"I go in to the hospital every day, sometimes for eight or 10 hours. I wouldn't have it any other way. The staff have so many patients to look after and Darren needs so much care," said Maresa who talks to her son, plays his favourite music including Ed Sheeran and Marty Mone's Hit the Diff and does body movement exercises with him.
"He has extremely good friends. They are in all the time. He has amazing friends. We are so thankful to them. They will come in and sit with Darren and let me get away for an hour or two.
"I say to his friends, take your life and live it because it can change like this," she added.
Darren is currently being cared for in St. Patrick's Ward at Wexford General Hospital where consultant Ken Mealy and all the staff - nursing, catering and security - have shown his family nothing but support and friendship.
"They have become friends to us all," said Maresa, adding that the family are also grateful to the staff of Beaumont Hospital.
A fund has been established under the name 'Our Fight for Darren' to raise money for his care in the future.
"We want him to come home. We want to start getting the house ready, to get it adapted. He will need 24-hour care and rehabilitation," she said adding that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about her son's condition.
"He still has surgeries to get through, then he will need rehabilitation. Staff from the National Rehabilitation Hospital are coming down to see him but he will have to be more medically stable before they accept him. He is still getting infections.
'The doctors haven't given us much hope. We will never get the old Darren back. But he is definitely in there. I absolutely believe there is awareness there. There is a change in him when you walk into the room or when you rub his cheek.'.
"I have given him up to God so many times. I've said Dear Lord, if you want to take him, please take him. I don't want him here fighting for life. Darren wouldn't want this kind of life.'
Maresa made her plea for others to wear helmets and be safety aware, as Pat Ennis, the manager of Freddie's Bar in Screen handed over €28,645 from a fundraising 5 km walk on Curracloe beach and a barbecue in the pub last March.