Northern Ireland news

Co Down teenager Niamh McGeoghegan who fell from balcony in Spain out of coma

The teenager suffered "life-changing injuries" after falling from a third-floor apartment in Spain 

A teenager left paralysed after a fall from a balcony in Spain is out of a coma and even hoping to return to A-level studies.

Niamh McGeoghegan (18), originally from Newry, suffered "life-changing injuries" after falling from a third-floor apartment in Benalmadena last month.

Doctors told her mother Claire and father Damien that she had a severed spinal cord, fractured skull as well as two bleeds on her brain.

She is understood to have lost the use of her legs.

Her family have been maintaining a vigil at her hospital bedside in Malaga and just last week she was moved out of the intensive care unit.

Her uncle Tony Curran last night told The Irish News his niece has been told of her paralysis after waking from her coma, which "she has found difficult to come to terms with".

But he said Niamh, a former pupil of Our Lady's Grammar School in Newry, "will face each obstacle as it comes" and is determined to fight back, even speaking of her desire to return to her studies.

The teenager had moved to the Fuengirola area of Spain with her family around three years ago.

She had been at a friend’s birthday party when the accident happened in the early hours of St Patrick’s Day.

After a difficult month, Mr Curran said his niece had made significant progress in recent days.

"Niamh was moved out of ICU last week to a trauma ward," he said.

"She is still very confused following the brain bleed, but the neurologist thinks she will recover from this and is actually amazed she survived the fall without severe brain damage.

"They hope to move her next week to a specialist spinal unit in Seville to begin a three-month rehab program.

"Niamh is aware of the paralysis which she has found difficult to come to terms with but her mother has told her she is capable of overcoming anything.

"I talked to Niamh by phone last week and she says she is bored and wants to go home and do her A-levels, something we never thought a month ago we would hear.

"She still has a long way to go but will face each obstacle as it comes."

Following the fall Mr Curran established an online fund to help his niece in her rehabilitation, which has already raised almost £8,000 - double its target.

He said the family "wish we could thank you all in person for your support and generosity and we are truly thankful, something we will never forget".

A fundraising event is also being held at Rostrevor GAA club on May 18.

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