15-Year-Old Fell From Horse And Ripped Her Jaw In Half
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
A teenager had to catch her jaw after it split in half in a horse riding accident.
Emily Eccles' chin and jaw were ripped apart and left hanging by a one-centimetre piece of skin. after the keen equestrian crashed into a gatepost while riding her horse near Baslow, in Derbyshire, last August.
The 15-year-old was rushed to Sheffield Children's Hospital, holding the bottom half of her shattered face in her hands.
Fortunately for Emily, consultant facial reconstructive surgeon Ricardo Mohammed-Ali was able to piece her back together. And just a month after undergoing a five-and-a-half hour operation, she returned to school.
Two months on, Emily has opened up about her accident, saying she was out for a ride with her friends and family when her horse was spooked by an exhaust popping on a car.
As the horse galloped off, Emily's feet became trapped in the stirrups; she fell to one side and smashed her head into a wooden post.
She said: "I just looked down and I was like, 'I don't know what that is.'"
Once in the ambulance: "I just looked down and I could see teeth and bone and I said, 'is that my jaw?'"
Michelle Eccles said she was driving with her husband Chris when she received a call saying her daughter had been involved in an accident.
Fifty-year-old Michelle said: "I actually thought she'd died."
The couple raced to Sheffield Children's Hospital where, because of the extent of Emily's injuries, a nurse warned Mrs Eccles to prepare herself before going to see her.
The teacher, said: "I took a few deep breaths and then she guided me into the room. I think some sort of coping mechanism came over me.
"It's your daughter there in a critical condition and looking very poorly and quite gruesome as well.
"But her eyes were still the same so I just thought, 'Just focus on her eyes.'
"I gave her a kiss on her forehead and kept saying, 'It's going to be alright.'"
She added: "Luckily, Emily's sense of humour never stopped."
And her husband decided to test the waters, joking: "Em, you don't do anything by halves", which, fortunately, the injured teen took well.
Michelle stayed by her daughter's side over the next 11 days as she recovered from her emergency surgery.
The worried mum said she was stunned by how fast Emily recovered from the traumatic incident.
She said: "After six days the bandages came off. That was just miraculous.
"I couldn't believe there was just this one scar and everything, although still swollen, was back in the right place."
And she couldn't speak highly enough of the emergency surgery performed by Mr Mohammed-Ali, explaining: "It just is miraculous what he had done."
"Being able to come home after such a horrific accident, 11 days on, is just testament to him and all the other professionals.
"We've tried to thank him and he's such an unassuming guy.
"He just smiles quietly and says, 'I was just doing my job.'
"But my husband and I say, 'Your job is just so amazing that you could bring her back.'"
Emily's parents have both visited the site of the accident, saying there is a metal spike sticking out of the post and that things really could have been much worse.
Michelle said: "I've tired to block that from our minds.
"Mr Mohammed-Ali said that a centimetre either way would have been catastrophic."
Emily's family has now started raising money for the Children's Hospital Charity's appeal to build a helipad for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance - you can donate here.
Featured Image Credit: PA