H for Health Threats

The first year after the release of the first album brought not only unexpected success to the band but also some unfortunate incidents that put their health in danger.

Glen’s accident

glen with headway 2013During a night out with his parents, drummer Glen Power had a bad fall slipping in the toilet: he smashed his head on the washbasin and on the marble floor, losing consciousness. When he came to, he didn’t feel any different but his father insisted on taking Glen to the hospital. He was put under observation and a couple hours later he started to feel a lot worse.

“I got the most unmerciful fucking pain in my head,” he recalled. “Then my nose started bleeding, my hearing went in my right ear. They scanned my head and said, ‘We need to operate on him right away’. I’d fractured my head in two places, which caused the blood vessels underneath the skull to burst and caused hematoma.”

Glen was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for an emergency craniotomy. His father was told that he could slip into a coma or, worse still, might die if the operation wasn’t a success.

“It was touch and go for 6-7 hours, my dad had to sign for my organs.”

“When they told me what they were going to do I cried and then I started laughing. I was like, ‘I don’t believe it! Things are starting to go well. I’m finally getting somewhere with the band and now this!'”

Glen held on to this thought during his recovery: the band.

“I was nine days in hospital and I was dizzy when I came out; I couldn’t walk in a straight line. The minute I woke up, I went, ‘I’ve got a gig next Thursday’. That’s the first thing I said (laughs). “

In fear of losing the ability to play he went back to touring sooner than expected.

“I couldn’t walk straight, my balance was gone and I couldn’t hear properly. It took two or three months for me to recover properly. The lads used to have to stand behind and catch me getting onto the tour bus as my balance was gone and I was desperately depressed for about a month as I thought I would never be the same again. But I have been very lucky. The only thing I get sometimes is when I lie down, I get a little bit of dizziness or vertigo.”

A big accident like this changes one’s perspective on life. Glen said he is no exception.

“I have titanium plates in my head. It taught me a lot and has calmed me down. I don’t worry about things like I used to. I feel like I’m in a football game with extra time.”

During his recovery Glen received help from the Irish charity, Headway who supports people with brain injuries. Since that the drummer used his fame to give back to the organisation, speaking up on many occasions.

Danny’s lung

Just before they could kick off their first headlining tour in the UK, another blow was served. This time to singer Danny O’Donoghue.

“I woke up with a pain in my side,” Danny said. “I got up out of bed and went down to have breakfast but it felt like somebody was fucking pulling my lung from one side.”

“My lungs are my money-makers so it was quite a scary thing to happen.”

As he learned from his GP, his lungs collapsed. At St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, Danny remembered being greeted by a nurse with panic in her voice realising this was more serious than he initially thought. He was rushed to the operating theatre. In minutes the surgeon was there with his knife.

“Within an hour the operation was done. I had a tube in my fucking lung basically to pump it back up to its normal size. It was this thing called Spontaneous Pneumothorax. If you’re tall and skinny you’re the fucking poster boy for it. It just happens to some people.”

In 3 weeks the band was back on the road again. Health threats or not, they weren’t to be kept away from doing what they wanted: getting their music out to the audience.

Quotes from:

  • Hotpress: You Couldn’t Make It Up
  • The Script on the Late Night Show, 2008
  • Irish Mirror, 2013 November
  • BBC, 2008 April

band iycsmn collage tragedy armour

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  1. Pingback: A to Z summary by the letter | Music and Words

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