herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'The chances of me using my legs again are bleak ... but I'll live best life possible to honour my friends'

INJURED

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.

Two of the victims - Aoife Beary (21) and Hannah Waters (21) - remain in critical condition.

Two others have been released from hospital, the latest being Conor Flynn (22) who got out last night, though it will be a number of weeks before he returns to Ireland.

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

The granddaughter of legendary rugby commentator Fred Cogley, she 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.

UPBEAT

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.

"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.

She received a special note online from her favourite author, JK Rowling, after she was contacted by Clodagh's brother Darragh.

"Wishing Clodagh Cogley a very speedy recovery and sending much love ... xxx," the Harry Potter author wrote on Twitter.

Daragh also paid tribute to GAA star Jack Halpin (21), who was also hospitalised after 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.

Jack Halpin - who is from Rathmines - remains in John Muir Hospital near Berkeley.

Sean Fahey, also from Rathmines, and Niall Murray were treated alongside Clodagh in the Eden Medical Centre in Castro Valley. Sean was released from hospital earlier this week and is back in Ireland.

REHABILITATION

Niall - from Rathfarnham but attending National University of Ireland, Galway - has left hospital to spend some time in a rehabilitation centre.

Conor Flynn (22), a DIT student from Mount Merrion, has also been discharged from hospital but cannot fly home for another couple of weeks.

It is understood that he will need extensive physiotherapy but is expected to make a full recovery.

Blackrock girl Aoife Beary and Hannah Waters from Castleknock, are understood to have been the most critically injured, are believed to have "longest roads to recovery" ahead.

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

Promoted articles

Entertainment News