Friday 19 January 2018

GAA US attack victim now faces $1.1m medical bill

Mark Hilliard

An inter-county GAA footballer who was left in a coma following an alleged assault during a match in San Francisco is facing medical bills of more than $1.1m (€770,000).

Mark McGovern (22), from Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, was reportedly struck by a rival player during a match in the American city in June and has only recently regained consciousness.

However, police investigating the incident have been unable to find a witness.

The McGovern family is now facing significant medical bills for his treatment and ongoing rehabilitation which is costing almost $4,000 (€2,800) a day.

Mark suffered a severe brain injury from a blow to the head and the damage was so severe that doctors initially believed a blunt instrument had been used.

Speaking from San Francisco last night, his sister Grace said the family were disappointed nobody had come forward with information but their immediate priority was Mark's recovery.

"We have no feelings anymore for that side of things but obviously we are not happy that someone couldn't come forward because we know someone definitely saw it," she said. "I'm sad for these people -- that someone was so badly hurt and they couldn't come forward."

Mark came out of the coma in San Francisco General Hospital in stages over the last two weeks.He first began signalling to those around him and eventually whispering to his girlfriend Jessica (21).

His parents Danny and Josie, and siblings Helen (29), Connie (30) and Grace (25), have been in San Francisco since he was hospitalised seven weeks ago.

"He is flying in comparison to what he was. He is walking by himself and talking although his voice is like someone with a sore throat," said Grace, who had to postpone her wedding due to her brother's condition.

"He is fully aware of what happened and that he was in a coma. At the start he asked one of his friends (what happened) and he just said it was a tackle but he is now being more inquisitive and he knows it was an attack."

Mark is currently undergoing speech, occupational and physical therapy.

The family is eager to thank everyone who has helped them and those who wish to contribute to Mark's fund can visit www.support4markmcgovern. com.

With costs now running at around €770,000, fundraising events are being planned by the Irish community in San Francisco.

Mark is to remain at the Laguna Honda Rehabilitation Centre to continue his recovery.

Irish Independent

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