Sunday 25 February 2018

Woman shares shocking images of 'feet on the dashboard' injuries after crash

Young woman who lost half her forehead as a result of crash slams celebrities' 'feet on the dashboard' photos

Gráinne Kealy slams celebrity's photo, shares the reality of the dangers of putting your feet up on the dashboard
Gráinne Kealy slams celebrity's photo, shares the reality of the dangers of putting your feet up on the dashboard

Claire Fox

A woman who lost half of her forehead as a result of a car crash has warned people not to rest their feet on cars' dashboards.

Gráinne Kealy (33), from Laois, told Independent.ie that she was travelling as a passenger in her ex-boyfriend's car in December 2006 and had her feet placed on the dashboard, when the car crashed and the air bag "exploded" on to her face.

"We were driving through Borris-in-Ossory when we skidded on black ice. I kneed myself in the face and it was like an explosion as the airbag popped at 200mph,"she said.

Gráinne has no memories from the accident but recalls waking up a week later and the horror she felt when she looked in the mirror.

"I remember looking in the mirror for the first time and it was horrific.

"My family thought I looked amazing though, because I had been so much worse before. My mother wouldn't allow any pictures to be taken of how I looked straight after the accident and I'm glad because I couldn't imagine at that time how I could've looked any worse," she explained. 

Grainne in hospital following the accident in 2006
Grainne in hospital following the accident in 2006

Gráinne underwent a 10-and-half hour operation to fix the multiple fractures on her face and the injuries in her brain.

She had her forehead removed for two years after she contracted an infection and finally got a new forehead in 2009.

The day before Grainne got her ceramic forehead in 2009
The day before Grainne got her ceramic forehead in 2009

She said the trauma of the accident and the physical effect it had on her face meant that she rarely went out in the years after the incident. 

"I looked scary so I didn't like to go many places because I did get strange looks off people. I went out two or three times and I used to wear bandanas to try and cover it up but one guy was drunk one night out and pulled it off and grabbed it."

Gráinne worked in a bar in Galway prior to the accident. She was told she would never be able to do bar work again but is now working part-time in Langton's bar in Kilkenny and has a three-year-old son.

She said: "I love bar work and I was told that I'd probably never be able to do bar work again and that was something that I couldn't accept as my main aim was to get back to how I was before the accident.

Grainne Kealy pictured in 2017
Grainne Kealy pictured in 2017

"I have my son Ethan and he's my own little miracle because after the operation I had so many complications with my stomach. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to have a child."

Gráinne said when she saw singer Selena Gomez post a picture of her resting her feet on a car dashboard on her Instagram account recently that it pushed her to "breaking point".

Screenshot from Selena Gomez's Instagram account
Screenshot from Selena Gomez's Instagram account

She explained that it wasn't the first time she saw a celebrity post a similar picture.

"It pushed me to breaking point. It's bad enough putting your feet on the dashboard but sharing it is worse.

"I was nearly shouting at my phone when I saw it because I love her. I saw Conor McGregor post a photo of his girlfriend doing it while she was pregnant and Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have all done it too."

The Laois woman said that she hopes by sharing her story and pictures that she can save even one person from going through the "hell" she went through.

"It was so heartbreaking for me," Grainne said.

"I still drive past people who do it and it annoys me. If I can even help one person from going through the hell I'm going through at least I'll have done something," she added.

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