PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The big danger with fireworks is when they’re set off in backyards or parks by people who aren’t trained professionals.
Things like firecrackers and sparklers have been linked to a growing number of injuries.
Stacy Young can finally see more clearly after she suffered a devastating facial injury when a firecracker exploded nearby.
“I was trying to yell and trying to get up,” she recalled. “Everything went black and I couldn’t see anymore. Pain…Jesus, God do I know what pain is.”
That incident happened 17 years ago and her skull was fractured in five places, as medical experts told Young she would never see again.
After six reconstructive surgeries at Penn Medicine, some of Young’s vision has been restored in one eye.
“I am seeing stuff now that I haven’t seen for 17 years,” she said. “I can see my sons face; I hadn’t seen his face for 17 years.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says fireworks caused nearly 11,000 injuries in 2015 and 1,300 were to the eye.
“I cringe because you don’t really appreciate how much of a risk you take,” Dr. Albert Maguire of Penn Medicine said.
The Penn doctors who have been working with Young say injuries from fireworks are often devastating.
“Up until I had surgery I didn’t look in a mirror,” Young said.
Dr. Maguire said, “She was very lucky and very unlucky that she still had vision in one eye. There’s a lot of damage that we could not fix.”
Now being able to look back thru her journey, Young says she’s grateful and still feel patriotic but for her, July 4th festivities are a painful reminder.
“Fireworks…apple pie, it’s an American tradition,” she said. “Well, I can’t taste that apple pie and I sure can’t sit on that blanket and look at those fireworks anymore.”
Doctors warn people to stay away from backyard firecrackers and sparklers because that’s where most injuries happen.