Former model Lauren Scruggs has revealed for the first time what actually happened in the horrific accident that robbed her of left arm and eye, and changed her life in an instant.
Lauren Scruggs, 24, from Dallas, Texas, spoke on Today show about the December 3 accident, where she walked into a still-spinning plane propeller, in the lead up to a Dateline interview that airs Friday November 16 at 10:00 p.m.
With little memory of the accident, Lauren Scruggs explained: “My dad actually went to look at the plane. I was always taught to get out in front of the wing, but when you do that [with this kind of plane] you’re basically on the propeller. So I think I basically just got out onto it.”
She added: “I remember getting into the plane, and I was fearful for some reason. We landed, which I thought was interesting, because I thought we might crash. I remember my feet touching the ground, but that’s all I remember.”
Her mother, who was also on the Today show with her husband, Lauren Scruggs’ father, explained how the pair had been to church, before going over to some friends’ for dinner, “like we always do”.
“They live in an airport so we ate dinner, and then they decided they were going to do some recreational flying, look at some Christmas lights and everything,” she said.
“Then, she was out there laying on her stomach in a pool of blood and I wasn’t really sure if she was dead or alive.”
Speaking about the bleak diagnosis given by the paramedics at the time, her father said: “They warned us there was a potential she wouldn’t have the same personality, that she may never form a sentence again, but as you can see today, that’s the case.”
Lauren Scruggs admits the hardest thing about the accident was losing her hand.
“It changes your life,” she said.
“You appreciate life a lot more, my compassion for people has strengthened, I have compassion I couldn’t have had before. It was a dose of reality, and was hard to see.”
Speaking about living life with only one hand, the fashion blogger and former model said: “It’s amazing how your body just does what it needs to do – things that were hard in the beginning a lot easier now. I don’t really think about them now.”
The blonde beauty is also honest in how her injured looks deeply affected her in her interview with Dateline.
“[When I saw myself], I think I just saw the reality of what had happened. I had my eye patch on, I didn’t have my hand, half my head was shaved. I was just thinking, <<Wow. How life can change in an instant and how that’s not the way I have looked in the past>>.”
The fashion blogger also spoke to People magazine this week about the future and learning to live with three different prosthetic limbs, hair extensions where her head was shaved and having to do everything with one hand.
A sometimes fashion model before the accident, Lauren Scruggs revealed she has struggled to come to terms with her changing looks.
She said: “Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the fact that I don’t look the same. I still struggle with that – I want to look nice. But every day I’m feeling better and better.”
“When I got home from hospital I would cry a lot and it was hard to look in the mirror. Before the accident I would get a lot of attention for the way I looked, so I held a lot of my identity there.
“But these things aren’t going to make you feel whole. They’re empty things.”
Wondering if any guy would ever like her because of her prosthetic arms, she reveals she now feels good about them.
Lauren Scruggs has three different arms – her passive prosthetic which she can’t move but looks incredibly lifelike, her workout prosthetic which she uses for boxing and other exercises and another arm that come with attachments, including a paddle-like device for swimming.
She is in rehab for up to three hours a day to practice ordinary tasks without her left hand and can now tie her shoes, put her hair up and drive – which she does with the help of her knee.
Referring to losing her hand, she said: “Reality hit me when I got off my pain medication. I just wanted my hand back. I went through the process of grieving and still am today.
“My doctor told me that losing your hand is like losing someone in your family. Because it’s a part of you.”