A woman is speaking about the dangers and risks of putting your feet up on the dashboard after a horrific accident left her without a forehead for two years.
At 22 years old Gráinne Kealy was in a car that skidded on black ice and hit a wall. Because her feet were propped on the dashboard above the airbag they were forced back into her face, breaking almost every bone.
Gráinne explained to RelationShipTalkies she had her feet up because she was wearing new shoes and it wasn’t something she would usually do.
My feet were on top of the airbag and, I know now, they inflate at 200mph. 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.
Gráinne and her boyfriend were rushed to hospital where she underwent surgery.
However only a few months later it was found she had an infection in the bone in her forehead, so doctors had to remove it. Gráinne had to live without a forehead for two years.
It took a while to slowly go down. 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.
In 2009 surgeons at Beaumont Hospital managed to reconstruct Gráinne’s face by fitting a ceramic forehead.
Explaining the surgery Gráinne said:
It was strange. 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.
Gráinne, who has a four-year-old son, is now raising awareness around sitting with your feet up in a car after the impact it’s had on her life.
You see it all the time. 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 realise it could be so dangerous. I thought because I was wearing a seatbelt and was sat up properly in the car, I was safe.
I want people to learn from my mistake.