Teen’s lucky escape after innocent sleigh ride became a nightmare
A Strabane teenager has spoken of her fear that she would be paralysed for life following a horrific sleighing accident.
Chleo Harte (17), from Clady, was sleighing with her friends at Strabane Golf Club when her cart hit a bump and overturned.
The Strabane Grammar pupil landed in a sitting position and broke two bones in her back on impact.
She is now on pain medication and being cared for at home after spending eight days in hospital. It will be six weeks before she can walk normally.
Speaking to the Telegraph, she said: “I have to lie down all the time and I am on a lot of painkillers. I can take a few steps to the bathroom, but that’s it.
“They are going to review me in two weeks to see if I need physio. I already got physio in the hospital and they taught me to walk up a few steps. Whenever they got me up and walking, I’d been lying so long my legs were like jelly.
“I’m not allowed to twist in any way. I have to be straight, especially in hospital, as I was only allowed to lie flat and there were no pillows allowed.”
Chleo said she was in “deep shock” when the accident happened during last week’s heavy snowfall.
She praised her quick-thinking friends who called an ambulance and knew not to move her.
“My friends were a really big help,” she said. “They were brilliant. I was lying in the snow for quite a while before the ambulance came and I couldn’t feel my toes. My mum and dad and grandad came.”
The teenager also praised the ambulance men and medical staff at Altnagelvin Hospital who monitored her around the clock.
“The ambulance crew put me on a spinal board but the hill was that steep and so icy, I was terrified I would slide back down. I don’t know how they managed to get me up that hill to the ambulance.
“I was lucky my bones didn’t break in towards my spinal chord. I was well scared. I was having all these visions when I was in the ambulance of being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
“The hospital staff were brilliant. They were so nice, all the doctors and nurses.”
Chleo said she is enjoying being spoilt in the house but added that she cannot wait to be up and walking about again in 2011.