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Young woman 'broke every bone in face' after putting feet on dashboard before crash

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A woman who "broke every bone in my face" in a car crash has warned others of the dangers of leaving their feet on the dashboard.

Grainne Kealy was traveling as a passenger in her then-boyfriend's SUV almost nine years ago when the vehicle hit black ice and crashed into a wall.

She had been relaxing with her feet stretched out, resting on the dashboard of the 4x4, when the accident occurred en route to Laois from Galway.

"Normally I wouldn't have had my feet up but I'd just bought new Uggs and the soles were completely clean," she told independent.ie

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When the airbag released with the impact of the crash, Grainne's legs were thrust back into her face at a velocity of 320kmph.

"I know people are going to think I'm silly for having my feet up there. I think it myself. But it actually scares me how many people don't realise how dangerous it can be," said the young woman.

Grainne's memories of the 2006 accident in Borris-in-Ossory are very scant but the medical treatment and recovery period was long and intense.

The now 31-year-old suffered extensive damage to her face and head and was rushed directly to Portlaoise hospital for treatment.

She was soon transferred to Galway University hospital where a team of surgeons were waiting to reconstruct her face.

"I've no memory of being in Portlaoise but they kept me there on a ventilator for around five days"

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However, she returned to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital soon after when a CAT scan revealed a cerebral-spinal fluid leak from her brain.

"It was there that I had my big operation that lasted over 10 hours, It involved three teams of surgeons putting my face back together with metal sheets and bolts," she said.

But, although the surgery was a relative success, Grainne was back in hospital the following year "as I found everything so hard to do" and was immediately diagnosed with MRSA.

"I did realise that I was very sick but I didn't know what was meant to happen and what way I should feel so I was shocked when I got diagnosed with MRSA in my forehead bone," she told independent.ie.

The result of the infection was that Grainne had to get her forehead bone removed and didn't get a replacement for almost two years.

"I looked quite strange. Thinking back on it now I don't know how I did it, I just did.  I got a lot of strange looks which I completely understood," she said.

"Originally it was meant to be titanium. But then one of the neurosurgeons came up with ceramic. This was made in Italy and it specifically made to fit my head."

Grainne is now mother to nine month old son Ethan and lives in Stradbally, just minutes from her parents Agnes and Peter. 

She attends her neurosurgeon and her ENT surgeon annually and suffers from Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) which leaves her tired and distracted.

Online Editors