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20th Feb 2022

Viewers praise Tommy Tiernan Show for “incredible” interview with Jack Kavanagh

Katy Brennan

Jack shared his experience of life as a young disabled person.

The Tommy Tiernan Show viewers were blown away on Saturday night after a powerful interview with former pharmaceutical student Jack Kavanagh.

Jack suffered a spinal cord injury from a water sports accident while on holidays with friends in Portugal at the age of 20.

Chatting to Tommy, he recounted the events of that day, describing how it felt to break your neck.

“I dived in over a wave, not realising how shallow the water was, and my head collided with the sandbank and I broke my neck,” he said. “Life took a bit of a turn at that moment.”

“My body just went limp, the sensation was almost like an electric shock going from the centre of my body and leaving out of the extremities. There wasn’t any pain at that stage but there was a sensation of heat in my neck.”

Jack spoke candidly about life after the accident, explaining how he had to spend nine months in hospital learning how to brush his teeth and breath.

“In an instant, you’re as vulnerable as a newborn again. I was on a ventilator learning to breathe.”

Currently, Jack has no movement below his armpits, but has learned to accept things. He moved viewers to tears as he explained how he tried to focus on the positives while in hospital.

He realised that “everyone’s in different places” and while he was surrounded by people with more function than him, there was also others in the hospital who had very severe injuries.

“You have huge gratitude that you say, I’m lucky that I’m not in that scenario as well. You get an appreciation.

“Like, I had fantastic family support, and I had a lot of friends in college in Dublin at the time and all of those kind of things, so that all goes a long way as well.”

Viewers took to Twitter to praise the young man for sharing his story.

“Am beyond words. This was one hell of an incredible interview. Stunning in every sense and now just words,” one person wrote.

“Incredible TV, what an interview, two lads having the craic, incredible emotion and vulnerability, nothing taboo, for once worth paying the TV licence,” another wrote.

“Remarkable interview with @JackKavanaghIRL on #TommyTiernanShow, what an inspiring man Jack is and how much he enjoyed the chat with Tommy, who treated Jack as an equal with such dignity, humour, and respect, just brilliant,” a third added.