A woman who was left without a forehead after a crash is now warning others about the dangers of placing feet up on the dashboard.
Gráinne Kealy was sitting in a car with her feet propped up on the dashboard when the accident occurred.
Her vehicle crashed into a wall after skidding on some black ice. It was when her feet were forced back, breaking each and every bone of Kealy’s face, who was 22 at the time.
“My boyfriend at the time was driving us through Borris-in-Ossory in County Laois to do a bit of Christmas shopping and I had my feet on the dashboard,” Kealy told LADbible.
“It wasn’t something I normally did, but I had new shoes on so I knew I wouldn’t leave dirty marks on the dashboard.
“My feet were on top of the airbag and, I know now, they inflate at 200 mph. The force of that meant my knees were sent back into my face really powerfully. I broke nearly every bone in my face.
“I had a brain leak [called a CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluid)] and I lost two teeth.”
Kealy underwent emergency surgery to fix her facial fractures as well as the leak in her brain. The surgery went well but it was later revealed that Kealy had an infection in her forehead bone.
Unfortunately, doctors had no choice but to remove the bone in 2007. The woman had to live the next two years without a forehead.
“It took a while to slowly go down,” she explained. “It wasn’t like I suddenly woke up and it was sunken in. It took a while, which probably helped me get used to it.
“For a long time, I was afraid to leave the house. I became a bit of a hermit. I didn’t want to go out and then when I did go out, I would get looks.
“I bought hats to cover it. I was also worried about banging my head.”
However, in June of 2009, doctors at Beaumont Hospital were finally able to reconstruct her forehead by putting a ceramic piece in the place.
“It was strange,” she said. “I’m aware of it, but I can’t really remember what it was like before I had it.
“Since it was first fitted, I’ve had fat taken from my stomach and injected either side of it to plump it out because you could see the edges. I think I’ll need to have that procedure one more time and then hopefully it’s done.”
Besides recovering from the various surgeries after the accident, Kealy said the crash triggered a series of severe problems, much like a ‘domino effect’.
“I ended up with gallstones because of the medication I was on and I have near-constant headaches. There seems to be a different problem every year,” she said.
“I know people have it much worse off than me and I’m so grateful for the treatment I’ve received, but it’s hard to move on when it’s still ongoing for me. I think in total I’ve had 16 procedures and surgeries.”
The mother-of-one is now sharing her story to raise awareness about the dangers of placing your feet up on the dashboard of a car.
“You see it all the time,” she said. “Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Conor McGregor and Selena Gomez have all posted photos to their Instagram with their feet on the dashboard.
“They have billions of followers who see that. You see it in films and on TV, it’s everywhere.
“I just want to warn others about how dangerous it can be. I didn’t know – and some people say to me ‘how could you have been so stupid?’ but I honestly didn’t realize it could be so dangerous.
“I thought because I was wearing a seat belt and was sat up properly in the car, I was safe. I want people to learn from my mistake.”
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