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A few brief seconds can change a life completely. After falling 26 feet from a roof without safety equipment, James Gorry was paralysed and even extensive rehabilitation couldn’t make him able to walk again. Having overcome adversity, he now delivers impactful presentations on safety and the consequences of not prioritising it.
James Gorry spent well over two decades in the construction business as a welder/fabricator, building up his own company, ABS Construction & Shed Systems, with a fabrication shop, a fleet of cranes, a staff of twenty people, and a good reputation. This all changed in a matter of seconds.
On October 15th 2005, at a galvanising plant in Dublin, James was asked to repair a damaged roof. That morning, they had completed the first stage of the process and taken down the safety gear, moving it down site to prepare for another day’s work. As James got back on the roof he felt he knew to inspect the next the next day’s work, he was not wearing any safety equipment; when he slipped in the gutter, he fell into the roof and twenty six feet to the ground below. It took three seconds to fall the twenty six feet, and it changed his life forever.
James ended up in intensive care in Tallaght Hospital for three months, paralysed, comatose and with brain injuries. He awoke to the stark extent of his injuries: fourteen broken ribs, lungs half filled with blood, and fractured vertebrae which pierced his spine at the T11. Though he was transferred to the rehabilitation hospital in Dun Laoghaire with hopes of walking again, after seven months of extensive rehabilitation he had to face the true extent of his injuries and he learned to accept that he never would.
He returned home to a house he could not access, the door openings too narrow and the house entrance, bathrooms and other rooms not at the correct level for someone confined to a wheelchair. His return was an extremely difficult time for both him and his family who were deeply affected by this harsh new reality. Not only had he lost his ability to walk and work, his whole life and that of his family was changed forever. He had to deal with a new situation both physically and mentally, and overcoming this incredible adversity is what has inspired him to try to pass on his message of awareness to others, to help prevent others from suffering as he did.
James’ presentations are given with absolute honesty and clarity. He is an engaging and thought-provoking speaker who makes a lasting impact on his audiences.
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