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Tough Christmas ahead for Mateo (12) who fell 50 feet from a cliff in Dublin

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Mateo Arteaga

Mateo Arteaga

Mateo Arteaga

Christmas will be a tough time for the young boy who fell 50 feet from a cliff in Shankill and suffered a shattered leg.

Mateo Arteaga (12) still has his left leg in a frame supporting a series of pins that are holding his healing bones in place.

His mother Sofia has had to take time off work to look after him, so the presents under the Christmas tree will be smaller and fewer than in previous years.

Mateo, a keen skateboarder, fell from the cliff on to the rocky beach last October 1 and smashed the bones of his lower left leg.

He had to be airlifted from the beach by the Irish Coastguard helicopter and flown to Tallaght Hospital for emergency treatment.

Mateo was later transferred to Crumlin Children's Hospital where he had a special frame fitted around his leg with steel rods to realign his bones.

He also needed surgery for a broken vertebra that had to be braced and stabilised with titanium screws during a five-hour operation.

Now he is back home in Dorney Court, Shankill, where his mum is nursing him back to health.

"Mateo's form is up and down," Sofia told the Herald.

"The points where the pins go into his legs are not closing properly and they keep getting infected, so he is often in pain and on antibiotics.

paralysed

"We've been told the frame might be able to come off at the end of January, but then Mateo will be in plaster for another three to four weeks.

"The screws in his back will have to stay in place for a year, so he is still very much in recovery.

"Unfortunately, I have had to tell Mateo that Christmas this year will be a small family celebration with food instead of the presents he is used to getting. Since his accident I have had to take a lot of time off work and we have suffered financially as a result, but that can't be helped."

After his horror fall, the Bray School Project student told the Herald it took around three seconds to tumble from the top of the cliffs.

"I thought I was going to be paralysed," he said.

He then had to call for help from a passing walker.

"Mateo had been up on the cliffs, sitting at the edge looking out to sea, but when he stood up he lost his footing and slipped," said his mother.

"When his cousin was visiting him in hospital he told Mateo he had 'punched death in the face'.

"He is now just looking forward to the new year and getting the frame off his leg and getting back on his skateboard."

hnews@herald.ie


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