School PE teacher loses leg in freak accident in her garden during storm

A PE teacher had to have her leg amputated after a freak accident caused her foot to be crushed by a garden wall.

Lauren Cooper, 31, lost the limb when Storm Eunice battered the UK back in February 2022, causing injury and destruction.

She described safely watching TV inside as the winds howled when she heard a loud bang.

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"It almost sounded like a car crash, but it was louder," she recalled.

"I looked out the window to check on my car, but nothing was wrong. I didn't even go outside at that point, I literally sat back down and watched TV.

"Then I thought, 'what if someone's hurt?'. So I stepped outside and I saw that most of the wall was down. I [thought] who do I even call?

"A couple of my neighbours came outside and we discussed the situation. One of my neighbours went back in to get some shoes on."

It was then that the garden wall came crashing down on Cooper, crushing her foot – although had she been much closer, the accident could have been even more severe, as the wall was taller than her.

Her neighbour came back out to find Cooper lying on the floor.

"[The wind] had blown the bit of the wall that was still upright. It landed on my feet. And this is going to sound really weird but I literally didn't feel anything.

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"I was just looking at my leg going, 'oh my legs are under the wall and I can't move my leg'.

One of Cooper's neighbours drove her to Lister Hospital's A&E department, where she was then transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge to receive three major surgeries over the course of a few weeks.

Doctors attempted to save her foot, but the circulation to some toes had been cut off completely, and an initial decision was made to amputate them.

"When they were discussing my toes being amputated, the first thing that came into my head was how would I wear sandals?" she recalled.

However it soon became clear that more drastic action was needed.

Cooper said: "There was a consultant who came in one day, and no one had mentioned that before, and he just said, 'amputation below your knee is your best option'.

"That was possibly the worst day in the hospital."

Cooper is now receiving physiotherapy, and says she gets "frustrated every day", but is slowly adjusting to her new life with the support of her family and physiotherapist, Matt.

And after learning to walk without crutches she's even been getting back into the basics of her favourite sport, netball.

"I think that if you are in a situation that you can control like if something is making you unhappy, you should do something about it. So if you don't like your job, you can change that but you can't change some situations.

"So I have no control over this situation. I can't change the fact that I've lost my leg, but I can control how I respond to it.”

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