Kornelia M.

Kornelia M. with her dog Jessie

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Kornelia and her classmates after the accident

Kornelia and her mother Silvia

The plaster corset

The upper part of her body is completely surrounded by a shell of plaster. In hospital Kornelia got this corset. "It is annoying", says the schoolgirl from Austria. "But better than being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life." By a hair's breadth, the 16 year old girl escaped from that fate, because her classmates acted in the right way, when Kornelia lied unable to move on the ground after the accident. If they had tried to lift her paraplegia would have occurred with a high probability.

On a sunny winter day in the early year 2000 Kornelia's teacher proposed to do the sports lessons outside: to luge in spite of doing gymnastics. They went to a hill near the palace. The teacher took a photo by chance as the luge skidded and Kornelia fell off. She had a belly landing in the snow. "I heard a crack, as if someone breaks a branch," the girl remembers. "At once I felt a cauterized pain. I tried to stand up, but I couldn't." Immediately the classmates reached her and turned her carefully to the back.

For the moment Kornelia did not realize how serious the situation was. She smiled bravely when her teacher took a photo. Meanwhile someone asked for a doctor. He was concerned about her spine and called an ambulance. Bound onto a stretcher with air cushions, Kornelia was carried to the hospital of Amstetten. There, the fracture of the 12th vertebra was diagnosed.

"Konny was completely upset," her mother remembers. "Suddenly she had no feeling in her right leg." Despite the careful acting after the accident one feared that a splinter of a bone could has intruded into the spinal marrow and hurt some nerves. But a computerized tomography drove the fear away: The spinal marrow was unscathed. Obviously an irritation of the nerves which declined after a few days was the cause.

Four days after the accident Kornelia's upper part of the body was put in plaster to prevent any motion of the vertebral column. During this procedure three doctors stretched the schoolgirl and lift her up with a sort of crane.

As she was able to walk again, Kornelia was discharged from hospital. She had to wear her plaster corset for half a year.