FORMER Kerry minor All-Ireland winning captain Robert Bunyan is on the road to recovery after emerging from a coma on Friday following a massive fall at his home recently.
Mr Bunyan sustained serious injuries when he fell from the roof of his home in Ballydonoghue earlier this month.
Family and friends feared the worst as Mr Bunyan failed to show signs of improvement throughout eight days in a coma. On Thursday night, however, he began to respond to treatment and emerged from the coma on Friday to the immense relief of wife Eileen, sons Bobby and Pádraig and daughter Elaine.
They have thanked everyone this week for the massive outpouring of support from the community since the terrible accident. The support culminated in a special Mass in Ballydonoghue which saw the church thronged with hundreds of Mr Bunyan's friends, from all over the county.
He captained the Kerry minors to an All-Ireland title in 1975 (on the same day as his brother John played for the winning senior side) and currently teaches in Tarbert Comprehensive. Son Bobby addressed the congregation at the Mass where he spoke of the family's deep gratitude for what he described as the 'overwhelming' support they received in their hour of need.
Mr Bunyan fell 20 feet onto concrete at his home in Shronoun, Ballydonoghue, while fixing a loose slate on the roof. He sustained broken ribs, fractured vertebrae and head injuries and both lungs collapsed during his initial treatment in Kerry General Hospital.
A family member, who did not wish to be named, told The Kerryman they feared the worst throughout their vigil until last Thursday when he began showing signs of improvement.
"Thank God he has emerged from coma and is now on the mend. It's going to be a slow road to recovery as his injuries are extensive, but it's looking good now," he said.
"All the prayers and massive community support definitely helped. The support was overwhelming and apart from the massive turnout at the Mass we have been receiving hundreds of Mass cards with people constantly calling to the house. It's incredible and we are so thankful for all the support," he added.