ESPN's Hannah Storm returns to work after burn injury

Dec 31, 2012 at 4:17 p.m. ET

ESPN anchor Hannah Storm is grateful to be alive after a serious propane gas accident three weeks ago.

Hannah StormESPN anchor Hannah Storm is feeling grateful after suffering serious second-degree burns on her hands and chest, as well as first-degree burns on her face and neck, in a propane gas grill accident three weeks ago. The accident also resulted in the loss of her eyelashes, eyebrows and half the hair on her head.

Despite her injuries, the newscaster will return to the airwaves on New Year's Day to host ABC's 2013 Rose Parade telecast. When you see her, you might notice a bandage on her left hand. She also has had extensions added to the places where she lost her hair.

The accident happened at her home in Connecticut on Dec. 11. She was preparing dinner and was having trouble lighting the flame on the grill. When she turned the grill off and reignited the gas, she was engulfed by an explosion and flames.

As the anchor told the Associated Press, ''It was like you see in a movie, it happened in a split-second. 'A neighbor said he thought a tree had fallen through the roof, it was that loud. It blew the doors off the grill.''

With her shirt burning, she managed to take it off with her left hand. Her 15-year-old daughter called emergency services, and the sportscaster was taken to the Trauma and Burn Center at the Westchester Medical Center where she was treated overnight.

The trip to California for the Rose Parade will be her first venture outside other than for Christmas Eve Mass. While dressing and showering have posed a few problems, Storm realizes how lucky she is.

As she told the AP, ''I didn't see my face until the next day and you wonder how it's going to look. 'I was pretty shocked. But my overarching thought was I've covered events with military members who have been through a lot worse than me, and they've come through. I kept thinking, 'I can do this. I'm fortunate.'''

She's also ready to get back to anchoring SportsCenter on ESPN next Sunday, so it looks like her injuries won't slow her down. In fact, they've just made her more thankful.

Storm concludes, ''More than anything, I feel gratitude. Something like this really makes you appreciate everything you have, even the chance to wake up on New Year's Day and do your job.''

Image courtesy of Apega/