herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Berkeley student Clodagh Cogley: 'I may never walk again'

Clodagh says the chances of her using her legs again are ‘bleak’
Clodagh says the chances of her using her legs again are ‘bleak’

BRAVE Clodagh Cogley has revealed she may spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and urged her friends to “enjoy a good dance and the feeling of grass beneath your feet”.

The Dublin student has vowed to live the “most fulfilling life possible” in honour of her six friends who died in the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse.

Clodagh (21) was one of the seven survivors of the balcony collapse who were taken to hospital after the tragic accident in the Californian city in the early hours of last Tuesday morning.

She posted an emotional message on her Facebook page and revealed the extent of the horrific injuries she sustained in the fourth-storey fall. 

Clodagh, the granddaughter of legendary rugby commentator Fred Cogley, said she will spend the next two months in a rehabilitation centre in San Francisco.

“The fall from the balcony left me with two collapsed lungs, a broken shoulder, a broken knee, five broken ribs and a broken spinal cord... Meaning the chances of me using my legs again are pretty bleak,” the Milltown woman said. 

However, the Trinity College student remains in upbeat form despite the ordeal.

“Not the best odds but I’m moving to a great rehabilitation centre here in San Francisco for two months and intend to give it everything I’ve got,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to the “dog therapy” they offer there.

Talent

“Who knows maybe legs have been holding me back all these years and I’ll realise my talent for wheelchair basketball.”

The Psychology student has now vowed to live the rest of her life to the full, in honour of her six friends who fell to their deaths in the heart-breaking accident.

“The thing I’m taking from this tragedy is that life is short and I intend to honour those who died by living the happiest and most fulfilling life possible,” she added.

“Enjoy a good dance and the feeling of grass beneath your feet like it’s the last time because in this crazy world you never know when it might be.”

There was an outpouring of messages for Clodagh in the wake of the accident and she received a special note online from her favourite author, JK Rowling.

Her brother Daragh paid tribute to GAA star Jack Halpin (21), who was also hospitalised during the accident, for helping to break his sister’s fall.

“Clodagh wanted to say particular thanks to Jack Halpin for grabbing her and breaking her fall,” he said.

The seven students who survived the horrific fall were taken to three different hospitals.  

Sean Fahey and Niall Murray were treated alongside Clodagh in the Eden Medical Centre in Castro Valley. Sean was released from hospital earlier this week and last night was understood to have been en route to Ireland, while Niall is expected to remain in the Eden Medical Centre for a number of weeks.

Aoife Beary (21) and Hannah Waters (21) understood to have been the most critically injured, are believed to have “longest roads to recovery” ahead. 

It is also understood that Conor Flynn will need extensive physiotherapy but is expected to make a full recovery. Jack Halpin is also making progress in the John Muir Hospital.

Almost €200,000 has been raised for the families and victims through donations online.

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