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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Teenage soccer star left in coma after holiday fall

By Greg Harkin

Published 12/06/2014 | 07:50

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Oisin Merritt and his girlfriend Josephine O’Neill. The teenage soccer player has been in an induced coma since he fell while on holiday in Santa Posa, Mallorca, last Monday.
Oisin Merritt and his girlfriend Josephine O’Neill. The teenage soccer player has been in an induced coma since he fell while on holiday in Santa Posa, Mallorca, last Monday.

DOCTORS are to begin attempts to awaken an Irish teenage soccer player from a coma after a fall on holidays.

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Oisin Merritt (19) is a player with Finn Harps Reserves.

He has been in an induced coma since falling at apartments in Santa Ponsa, in Mallorca, last Monday.

He is being treated for several brain injuries, a broken jaw and a punctured lung in a hospital on the island’s capital Palma.

Oisin was on the Spanish island for a week’s holidays with friends from the Stranorlar and Ballybofey areas of Co Donegal when the accident happened.

They had all been due to return home on Tuesday.

His parents Gary and Rose and his girlfriend Josephine O’Neill have flown out to Mallorca to be by his bedside.

Collection

“I’m from Alaska originally and he is what we would call an All-American Boy’, great at sports and very popular,” said Patricia Carr, the landlady at McKelvey’s Bar in Ballybofey.

The pub - which Oisin’s mum Rose used to run - and the Twin Towns Celtic Supporters Club, which Oisin is a member of, are organising a collection this Saturday to help pay medical bills and the costs of family being with the teenager.

“Everyone is stunned and saddened by the news,” said Ms Carr.

“Everyone is praying for Oisin’s return to health and we want to support him and his family whilst he does that, however long that takes.

“We’re doing a bucket collection this Saturday to see what we can raise and anyone can send any donation, no matter how small, to the bar here in Ballybofey.

“We’d be very grateful,” she added.

Oisin was put into an induced coma on Monday night.

It’s understood doctors will begin attempts to awaken him from the coma tomorrow.

The footballer works at the Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey alongside his girlfriend.

“We are all praying and hoping that Oisin pulls through,” said Finn Harps spokesman Aidan Campbell.

“He is such a nice young man. We are all praying for a speedy recovery.”

Support

Family, friends and Finn Harps players have been sending messages of support to Oisin and his family.

“Sad to hear about the big guy got to know him really well this past year,” said Harps first team goalkeeper Shaun Patton in a post on Oisin’s Facebook page.

“What a nice person he is; he wouldn’t have a bad word to say about anybody.

“Hope you pull through buddy; thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,” the post added.

Daniel Nolan, who coached the U19 squad at the club, said he was “shocked and sad” to hear about the incident.

“The lad is one of the nicest fellas I’ve met and my thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family that he pulls through,” he said.

Dozens of other messages of support have poured in for the Merritt family.

And prayers were said at St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar last night.

hnews@herald.ie

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