WHY WEAR A MASK: Ian O’Connell shared this photo of the scar left after he had to use a ventilator following his mountain bike accident.


By Sean Moriarty

Inspirational Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell has warned of the continuous threat of Coronavirus and is encouraging people to wear face masks while out in public.

Ian was left with a life-changing injury after falling from his bike in Killarney National Park in the summer of 2017.

The then 16-year-old sustained damage to his neck and spine leaving him in a Dublin rehab facility for seven months following the horror accident.

He spent 80 days on a ventilator, a similar machine to that is used on COVID-19 patients, and was told he could be on it for life.

“I just said feck this, I am not doing this for the rest of my life,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “We have been given advice, it is not like we don’t know what is going on, follow the advice and wear a mask.”

He was slowly weaned off the ventilator, first for 20 seconds at a time, slowly building up to two minutes before finally being able breath with an mechanical aid.

“If you don’t like wearing a face mask in public, trust me you will not like the ventilator either,” he added.