Monivea car crash survivor helps young people face their demons

Shane Mullins

Shane Mullins

A documentary about a 25-year-old Monivea man who sustained serious injuries following a drink driving accident in 2005 will be aired on RTE Radio 1 on Saturday at 2pm.

The programme has been produced and narrated by John Hearne, a Wexford born journalist who contributes to a number of national newspapers as well as doing ghost writing and editing. He lives in Ardrahan.

The 40 minute documentary will focus on Shane Mullins whose life was changed forever on October 16 2005. At 1.45am that morning the then seventeen-year-old left a pub with one of his friends. They had both been drinking since seven o’clock the previous evening. Shane climbed into the driver’s seat of his car and set off towards his home in Monivea.

“He lost control of the car not far from the pub,” says Mr Hearne. “When it hit a ditch and rolled into a field Shane’s head came into violent contact with a concrete pillar. As his friend climbed unscathed from the wreck to raise the alarm Shane fell into a coma.”

Rushed to hospital in Galway his friends and family were told to prepare for the worst. “My family were asked would they donate my organs,” says Shane. “Thankfully, they didn’t. The organs have come in handy over the last few years!”

He spent three months in hospital and three more at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire. He is now blind in one eye, has limited co-ordination, reduced mobility and suffers from many of the cognitive impairments that go with brain injury. Despite these obstacles he is touring the country, speaking to young people in schools and colleges about his experiences since that night.

He has developed a self-help programme, which he calls D’MESS (Determination, Motivation, Emotional, Support and Social life ) designed to help young people face and fight their demons. He discusses each heading in turn, explaining how he used this system to bring himself back from depression and alcohol dependency.

In his journey to regain his independence Shane faces each new obstacle with humour and honesty. He says his problems with balance frequently lead to confrontations with the law.

“I’ve been pulled over about 800 times. It’s people in shops reporting me, or other drivers. They see me wobbling into the car, obviously, they think I’ve been drinking…”

The documentary follows Shane as he works to turn the self-help system he has developed into a business. He also takes a personal journey back through what happened to him seven years ago.

For the first time, he talks to those who were there that night together with the medical professionals who contributed to his recovery. He returns to the scene of the accident to confront the reality of what happened to him, to accept it and move on with his life.

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