Sunday 20 August 2017

'Please help him walk and talk again' - Mum of boy (4) who fell on artificial grass

Brave James with dad Kevin, mum Jean and big brother Liam
Brave James with dad Kevin, mum Jean and big brother Liam

Elaine Keogh

The family of a little boy who lost all mobility and speech in a playground accident are raising money to get him treated overseas.

James Higgins (4), of East Wall, Dublin, was only two when he slipped on artificial grass as he ran in a playground in December 2015.

His mum, Jean (38), said: "My mam phoned me in work at 3.30pm with the news and James appeared to be okay.

"He was able to have a small conversation with me on the phone, but by 5pm he started to become sleepy and began vomiting."

When Jean came home from work she could not wake James, so she called an ambulance.

"The paramedics took him to Temple Street Hospital where a scan revealed a large clot on his brain."

Doctors operated on him immediately.

"They told me and my husband, Kevin, that the next 72 hours would be critical," said Jean.

By noon the next day, James showed signs of recovering and there was no more bleeding.

He spent the next six months in Temple Street and five in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

Amazing

"James is doing his best and attends a pre-school in the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf," said Jean.

"The staff are amazing and he has regained a few words and taken a few steps, but there's a lot more that needs to be worked on."

Jean and Kevin (44) believe James needs specific treatment at the Adeli Medical Centre, an international rehabilitation centre in Slovakia.

They hope to raise €10,000 to take James to the centre this summer, when doctors will review his condition.

"Oisin Fagan, a friend of the family, is doing a skipathon to help with the fundraising, but we could do with some more help," said Jean.

Oisin will skip 5km from Kinsealy to Malahide on June 10.

"Hopefully, my effort will be enough to raise some badly needed cash for Kevin and Jean to take James to Slovakia to receive further treatment," he said.

A Gofundme page has been set up to help the family reach their target.

"There's a special bond between James and the whole family and especially with his eight-year- old brother, Liam," said Jean.

"At the start, Liam found it hard to deal with James' injury.

"He didn't know how he'd play with him again, but they have a very special bond now.

"Liam will often climb into bed beside James to give him a cuddle and have a chat, which is lovely to see.''

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