Sunday 22 September 2019

'I thought I'd never see again,' says soccer-star teen after 'acid' attack

Can now see: Tega Agberhiere (16) shows his facial injuries
Can now see: Tega Agberhiere (16) shows his facial injuries
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The schoolboy footballer who was the victim of an apparent acid attack said he feared he wouldn't be "able to see another thing in my life".

Tega Agberhiere, an U17 soccer international, was one of three teenage boys attacked with a corrosive substance in Waterford a week ago today.

The 16-year-old was rushed to Cork University Hospital for treatment.

Speaking to WLRFM's Damien Tiernan, Tega said the "nice messages" he received from members of the public are "getting me through everything".

When asked by the broadcaster how he was recovering, Tega said: "I'm getting better every day, [I'm] feeling less pain and... that's it, to be honest."

The talented footballer said he feared he would never be able to see again - but now has vision in both eyes.

"I can see from both eyes. It's just it's a little bit swollen, so it's hard to open them.

"They [the doctors] said I should be able to see, that my vision will get to how it was before," he said.

When asked if doctors have told him he will need skin grafts, Tega said: "Not sure yet. I'm just giving my skin a few weeks to heal first."

He said he couldn't describe the pain he felt when the corrosive substance was thrown towards his face.

"When I got it... I thought I would never be able to see again," said Tega. "That was what I thought, 100pc, that I would never be able to see another thing in my life."

Tega made his comments to broadcaster Tiernan in a video posted by WLRFM to social media.

In the video, the injuries sustained by Tega in the shocking attack are plainly visible.

Gardaí in Waterford are continuing to investigate the incident.

Earlier this week, Ireland manager Mick McCarthy sent Tega his best wishes.

"I was shocked to hear what happened to Tega and his friends in Waterford," said McCarthy, "and I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone involved with football in Ireland when I wish them all well as they recover from the effects of this attack.

"I know Tega is a very promising young footballer and I hope and pray that he is back on the pitch in the very near future. My best wishes to Tega, to his friends and to their families."

Four teenagers, one of whom is a juvenile and the others aged 18 and 19, were arrested by gardaí in Waterford on Saturday, most of them in their homes.

They were questioned at the local Garda station and were later released.

Other arrests may follow as gardaí investigating the incident attempt to piece together exactly what happened.

A file is expected to eventually be prepared for the DPP.

A total of three teens were injured in the attack.

Padraig Sullivan plays underage hurling for Waterford and sustained acid-type burns to his legs, causing nerve and tissue damage, and he faces a two-week wait before doctors can begin the skin graft work.

Padraig's father Mark said it looked like his son had walked through a bonfire after the attack.

Irish Independent

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