News

Out of her coma

By Zoe McMaugh

Kerrida Rourke has a long road to recovery in front of her after being injured in a boating incident earlier this month . . .  but the trouble is noone knows yet how long it will be.

The former Deniliquin woman, who is 21, was being towed behind a boat at Hume Weir on March 1 when she fell.

She was left with significant head injuries, requiring her to be air lifted to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Her parents Tony Rourke and Nat Green said because of the risk to the brain, Kerrida was placed in an induced coma almost immediately ‘‘because of the severity of her injuries and to keep her as calm as possible’’.

Wednesday was the first time she had opened her eyes since being placed in the coma, and it was not until the weekend Kerrida regained full consciousness.

‘‘She is awake and talking,’’ Tony confirmed when providing an update to the Pastoral Times yesterday.

‘‘Her memory is a little patchy, but everything seems to be going okay; and she just wants to get out of there (hospital).

‘‘It was on Wednesday morning (10 days after the boat crash) she first opened her eyes, but it was only very brief. And she was in an out (of conciousness).

‘‘One Sunday on the river had turned in to a nightmare.

‘‘The doctors are telling us she is responding as well as they had hoped, although we don’t expect to know more about her long term recovery until this week.

‘‘We expect she will spend the rest of this week in intensive care, before being moved to a rehabilitation unit.’’

Tony said because his daughter was not fully concious until the weekend, the extent of her injuries and potential lasting impacts are still unknown.

‘‘We keep asking the questions, but noone can tell us anything yet,’’ he said.

‘‘Kerrida has some paralysis down her left side, but the doctors are not overly concerned because she does still have some movement there.

‘‘It will be a long road ahead, but we have no firm timelines yet.’’

Kerrida, who had only recently started exploring her own independence by moving to Wodonga with a friend, is a former Deniliquin High School student and Blighty Netball Club player.

The local community is rallying for the family, to help them be near her side in Melbourne while she recovers.

Go Fund Me pages have been started by friends and family, which Tony said is testament to the mark his daughter made while living in Deniliquin.

‘‘The family is very appreciative,’’ he said.

‘‘Nobody really knows the financial strain something like this can have until you’re faced with it yourself.

‘‘It helps when the public gets behind you.

‘‘We particularly want to thank the Blighty Football Netball Club for their support,’’ Sammy added.

Kerrida’s family are spending more than $1000 a week on accommodation to be close to the Alfred, plus extra on food, fuel and other living expenses.

The unknown cost is what they will be charged for the ambulance and air transfer to the Alfred and other hospital bills.

To help the family, go to their Go Fund Me page.