A Ballyhegan teenager who made a miraculous recovery from a serious car crash says her accident has brought her and her football teammates even closer together.
Sarah Louise Doherty (18) spent six weeks in hospital - half of those on a ventilator in intensive care - following the accident on the Red Lion Road on June 11.
She had been driving home after training with her club, Ballyhegan Davitts, when the accident occurred.
She sustained multiple fractures and soft tissue injuries, as well as a serious brain injury.
According to dad Paul, the care she received at the intensive care unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital was “outstanding” and after three weeks she was transferred to the Neuroscience Ward.
There, her rapid recovery astounded medics and nurses alike, and after a further three weeks she was able to go home.
In recognition of the care she received from the healthcare professionals, Sarah Louise and her family last week presented a cheque for £2,385 to the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit at Musgrave Park Hospital.
The money was raised at a very successful fundraising coffee morning in the Parish Centre, Stonebridge, organised by the Doherty family and Ballyhegan Davitts.
Sarah Louise says that apart from a weakened voice - caused by the tracheotomy and from which she is expected to recover - she feels exactly the same as she did on June 10.
She said, “Even now, thinking back, it feels like a dream. I don’t remember anything about the accident, or even training that morning, and the only time in hospital I remember was the final week.”
Sarah Louise, a talented footballer who was part of the Armagh Ladies All Ireland U17 winners and 2016 Ulster ‘A’ champions, can’t wait to get back on the pitch again.
“It kills me to be watching from the sidelines,” she said.
“The team’s support has been unbelievable. They all went to Mass to pray for me and since it happened I feel the team is closer together.
“My friend Lauren O’Gorman is absolutely amazing.
“She was in the car with me and she still has flashbacks.”
A former pupil of St Catherine’s College in Armagh, Sarah Louise has taken up a place at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown studying Language and Linguistics and “absolutely loves it”.
She hopes to return to football in December and take up her Talented Athlete Scholarship with the university.