TAKING time to relax and enjoy Christmas after a life-changing nine months is the plan for the determined young Mayfield man Jack O’Driscoll who said he feels lucky with how his life has turned out.
Jack, aged 20, who suffered life-altering spinal injuries during a fall in snow storms last March, has come home to Cork for Christmas after nine months in Dublin recovering in the National Rehabilitation Centre.
The former soccer and GAA player, who is now in a wheelchair, said he often thinks about how things could have been a lot worse.
“You get a different perspective and outlook on life,” Jack said.
“I always think whatever happened, happened, but it could have been a lot worse.”
Chatting about his time at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire, Jack said he was lucky that he was in the perfect place to go through a difficult time. “You meet guys with similar injuries, lesser injuries and a lot worse. You wouldn’t believe what some people have to go through in a day and you think God, I’m actually lucky how it turned out. That gives me the strength to go on.”
Jack said his injuries will not hold him back from achieving whatever it is he wants to do in life.
“The way I look at it is, I might not be able to move my hands but I can still go out and achieve whatever I want to achieve.
“My own outlook is, fair enough it happened, I am in a wheelchair, but I can do whatever I want to in life, I am just going to do it sitting down instead of standing up.”
Talking about being home in Cork for Christmas, Jack said it was “unbelievable.”
“I spent so long in Dublin, it is good to be back among family and friends.
“Dublin was strange, I had never spent any time away from home before. Not having family there, you just have to learn to deal with everything yourself. It was different, but I just got used to it.”
Since returning to Cork, Jack said he has been swamped with visits from family and friends all happy to see him back in the rebel county and doing well.
“I nearly have to make a schedule to fit everyone in. It is good to have, because when I was up in Dublin I didn’t see anyone from one week to the next.”
At the moment Jack is staying at a care facility in Mahon while work is ongoing at his own home and Jack and his family will be having Christmas at his grandmother’s house.
“Christmas is such a family time and I was away for such a long time. Just to get home for Christmas is a big boost.”
Looking ahead to 2019, Jack said he is always working on his ability, but he is looking forward to taking a few months to himself as well.
“When I was up in Dublin, it was rehab and it was pretty intense and being home is time to myself. Time to take a chill pill and enjoy Christmas with family and stuff.
“I want to take a bit of time for myself and then go back hard at it again.”