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A teenager was left with her jaw attached by just a centimetre of skin after a horror horse riding accident.

Emily Eccles suffered one of the worst facial injuries her doctors had ever seen outside a war zone after an exhaust popping on a car spooked her horse in August.

The 15-year-old, from Yorkshire, smashed her head into a gatepost as she fell off after the horse bolted along a country path near Baslow, Derbyshire, causing her feet to slip out of her stirrups.

She found herself holding what remained of the bottom of her face in her own hands.

Ricardo Mohammed-Ali, facial reconstructive surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, managed to rebuild her face during a five-and-a-half hour long operation.

It was such a success she was back at school for the start of term – just a month after the accident.

Two months on, Emily said her scars are healing by the day and she hopes she can persuade her parents to let her ride again.

The GCSE student has written to the Queen to ask for a knighthood for Mr Mohammed-Ali, and has received a personal letter from the Queen’s secretary saying it has been referred to the relevant body.

“Saving people’s lives and getting them back to normality definitely deserves some sort of recognition,” she said.

Speaking about the fall, she said she remembers catching something red which flashed in front of her face as she fell.

“I just looked down and I was like, ‘I don’t know what that is’,” she said.

She was then in the ambulance, and said: “I just looked down and I could see teeth and bone and I said, ‘is that my jaw?’.”

Her mother, Michelle Eccles, 50, said a nurse told her to prepare herself before seeing Emily at hospital.

“I think some sort of coping mechanism came over me,” Ms Eccles said

It’s your daughter there in a critical condition and looking very poorly and quite gruesome as well.

“But her eyes were still the same so I just thought, ‘just focus on her eyes’.”

She called Emily’s recovery “miraculous”.

“We’ve tried to thank [Mr Mohammed-Ali] and he’s such an unassuming guy,” she said.

“He just smiles quietly and says ‘I was just doing my job’.

Mr Mohammed-Ali used three titanium plates and more than 160 stitches to piece Emily’s face together.

He saved all but one of her teeth.

Emily, who is also a talented skier, said her friends thought her injuries were like “some kind of zombie”.

She did not dare look at first but saw her face when she accidentally switched on her selfie camera while messaging a friend.

She said: “It was like something you see in a film, it was really quite horrific.

“At first I was thinking, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m not going to look like me, I’m not going to have the same kind of life as I did before'”.

Mr Mohammed-Ali said he was “extremely pleased” with Emily’s recovery so far, and revealed the nerves that supply sensation to her lips and chin were torn on both sides.

He added: “It could have been worse, but it is one of the most significant injuries that I have seen in a child outside of areas of conflict.”


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