In 2015, Clodagh was working as a police officer when she was involved in a minor traffic collision. At first, it looked as though Clodagh simply walked away with a whiplash injury, however, the whiplash caused a clot to form which led to a devastating brain stem stroke.
Clodagh's life was turned upside down in an instant. Her stroke left her with locked-in syndrome. “I was a prisoner in my own body. Inside I was screaming but I just looked serene and peaceful as I lay there”, Clodagh remembers. For three months, she was unable to move or speak and could only communicate by blinking.
Clodagh refused to accept that her condition was permanent. In the first few months of being hospitalized, she was asked to set a goal to help her recovery. Still unable to speak, she used a spell board to spell out “I will walk out of here”. She wouldn't accept being told it was unrealistic.
Following six months of intensive rehabilitation and incredible determination, Clodagh achieved her goal and walked out of hospital.
Clodagh recovery is ongoing but she has come a long way. She received a life after stroke grant which enabled her to buy a cross trainer to help her recovery. Clodagh says: "recovery is like a recipe where you need all the ingredients and the Stroke Association has been one of the really important ingredients". Clodagh has also managed to return to work as a police officer. “My dreams are no different than they were pre-stroke. I want to do well at work. I want to study and become a detective". She recently published a new book entitled: ‘A Return to Duty’, where she writes all about her experience and how she overcome locked-in syndrome.
She also frequently dedicates her time to raising awareness of stroke, sharing her incredible story to help and inspire other stroke survivors and professionals.