Tuesday 21 November 2017

GAA player wakes from four-week coma in US

Shane Hickey and Majella O'Sullivan

The conditions of two Irishmen who were seriously injured and in comas after incidents in the United States and Australia have improved, giving hope to their families.

A young GAA player seriously injured during a match in San Francisco has been able to communicate with his parents after his condition improved.

Mark McGovern (22), from Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, has regained consciousness after more than a month in a coma in a hospital in the US.

And in Australia, the condition of Timothy McCarthy (41) from Tiernaboul, Killarney, Co Kerry, who was in a coma after an alleged assault, improved after he was able to come off life support and breath independently.

Mr McGovern had been in San Francisco for just five days when he suffered severe head injuries during his first GAA game after arriving at the end of June to play for the San Francisco Ulster club.

The young player clashed with a Celts Club opponent on the field and took a serious blow to his head after which he was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital and put into an induced coma.

Yesterday, his friend Emmet Scollan said there had been a huge improvement in Mr McGovern's condition over the past three days and he had been whispering to his family.

Mr McGovern's sisters Grace, Helen and Connie are with him as well as his father Danny and mother Josie.


"The family are overjoyed, when you see where he came from," Mr Scollan said. "But he still has a long, long way to go.

"He gives a wee smile, but nothing to the full extent of what Mark can do."

While Mr McGovern has been taken off the critical list by doctors, they have not given any indication of how long his recovery will take.

Oliver McElhone, chairman of the San Francisco GAA western divisional board, said there was still brain damage present but it was not clear how much.

Meanwhile, Mr McCarthy is still in the intensive care unit of Canberra Hospital having sustained head injuries in an alleged assault in the city on July 24.

The hospital reported that Mr McCarthy was able to sit upright for the first time since he was admitted to the hospital.

His mother Cecelia and sister Veronica are at his bedside.

A man appeared before Canberra Magistrate's Court last Friday charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Mr McCarthy. Daniel Byrne (18), from the Franklin district of Canberra, was released on bail to appear before the court again in October.

Irish Independent

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