To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News & Media
A woman was left wheelchair-bound for four months and had to learn to walk again after ‘bursting’ her spine tombstoning from a 50ft bridge into a river, and is now urging others not to make the same mistake. Warning: contains distressing content.
Last July, Libby Sinden was with friends at the River Lune in Lonsdale, Cumbria, when the group decided to jump into the water from the Devil’s Bridge to cool off.
Despite others being ‘absolutely fine’ taking the plunge, Sinden’s jump turn didn’t end so well, with footage showing her crying up to friends: “I hurt my back.”
After managing to get herself to the edge of the water, she remained in pain for three-and-a-half hours as the fire service, an ambulance and mountain rescue scrambled to the scene, before Sinden was rushed to Preston Royal Hospital for a major six-hour operation on her spine.
Sinden, from Preston, Lancashire, said: "I was one of the lucky ones not to be paralysed and have any rocks underneath.
"A lot of people jump off the bridge often. I watched quite a few people jump off it, including kids, and they were absolutely fine.
"I'd seen two people before jump in but I know over the years, hundreds or even thousands have done it.
"As I stood on the wall, I felt a bit of adrenaline mixed with nervousness.
"As soon as I jumped, I felt fear before I hit the water [when] I realised how high it was. It was about 50ft high.”
The healthcare sector worker said she decided to give it a go but was ‘just unlucky’, explaining: “The way I hit the water, it was still rather than moving, so it was almost like hitting a brick wall.
"It caused my spine to have a burst fracture, which led to getting three fire rescue teams, an ambulance, mountain rescue and then being air evacuated to Preston Royal Hospital.
"My message to other people is that it can happen to anyone at any time and that a small decision can change your entire life. Don't do it.
"Everyone makes mistakes and I want to raise awareness."
Sinden underwent emergency surgery on her back, which left her with metal rods and titanium screws in her spine, before spending four months wheelchair-bound while also having to learn to walk again.
She continued: "I only hit the water [and not any rocks] but once I came back up, I felt like I'd winded myself. I wasn't aware of the severity at first.
"With the way the spine burst, part of the bone went into my spinal canal and it put some pressure on one of my kidneys.
"I was very, very close to paralysing or killing myself.”
A ‘freezing’ Sinden was in the water for more than three hours before firefighters were able to get her out, swimming from one side to the other holding her back.
"I couldn't get out of the water until they had a way of getting me out because of a spinal injury,” she said.
“They eventually got me out using the platform and I got put in the air ambulance.
"I was freezing. I think I had hypothermia afterwards.
"Once I got to hospital, I was rushed in for emergency surgery.
"I had three metal rods and six screws made of titanium to fuse my spine and put it back together. It was a six-and-a-half-hour surgery.
"I was in hospital for a week and in a wheelchair for three or four months. I had to learn to walk again and adapt the way I do everything.
"I've had physio and still under that now, I'll be in physio for quite a while. From the accident to getting walking again, it was about four months.
"I can't bend fully, that part of my spine doesn't move very well. I have to move my whole body when turning to look at someone.
"I was a very active person before but I'm still not allowed to run or do things that are highly active."
Now almost a year since the accident, Sinden hopes to get back into running – with her pet dog Sahara being her ‘main motivation’.
While she has managed to ‘get back to doing a lot of things’ that she could do before, she said she was still ‘limited’.
"I'm a year on now, I still feel pain but I was able to walk again and through determination,” she added.
Topics: UK News