Friday 20 September 2019

You failed miserably to destroy me, GAA star tells her attacker

GAA star Alisha Jordan. Inset: Alisha in the aftermath of her horrific attack
GAA star Alisha Jordan. Inset: Alisha in the aftermath of her horrific attack
Alisha Jordan in the aftermath of her horrific attack
Alisha Jordan (front right)
New York's dejected Alisha Jordan after the game. Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Alisha Jordan in action
Alisha Jordan in hospital

Orlaith Farrell

A female GAA star who was left with permanent facial scars after a brutal beating in New York has told her attacker that he had "failed miserably to destroy her".

Alisha Jordan, who was viciously assaulted in an unprovoked attack as she walked home from a night out in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx in 2012, wanted to put an end to her ordeal as she read a victim impact statement ahead of her assailant's sentencing yesterday.

Left fighting for her life, her injuries included two broken cheekbones, a broken nose, fractures to both orbital bones, an almost full set of smashed teeth and nerve damage that resulted in her losing her sight for two weeks.

She has had 10 metal plates inserted in to her face and several reconstructive operations.

"I was hit in the face with a slab of concrete, all for no reason at all," Ms Jordan said.

Her mental state was "worrying" following the attack, she told the court, and she couldn't look in the mirror for months and suffered nightmares and panic attacks.

Alisha Jordan (front right)
Alisha Jordan (front right)

Through the support of family and friends, she said that she slowly regained her confidence.

"My scars are proof that I have beaten what tried to hurt me," she said.

New York's dejected Alisha Jordan after the game. Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
New York's dejected Alisha Jordan after the game. Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

In hospital, she received counselling to help her cope with the emotional trauma and the psychological fallout.

Despite being told that she would never play again, the footballer stunned her medical team and delighted supporters when she returned to the New York team for the All-Ireland Ladies' Junior Football Championship.

Alisha Jordan in action
Alisha Jordan in action

Remarkably, she scored the winning point in the 2013 New York decider.

The Meath native said she started playing her beloved football again two months after plastic surgery and lifted a trophy a mere nine months later.

She wished that her attacker could have "watched me lift that trophy" she said, so you "could see how invincible I am". It has been a challenging time for the 23-year-old who lost her father recently and she told her attacker that as a man he was "incomparable to a low-life like you".

"You are a lot less scary without the concrete in your hands," she said.

Speaking for almost five minutes, Ms Jordan thanked her legal team and detectives in the case, adding that all she and her mother had been left with was worry and the financial burden of the attack.

Kevin Bynum, who pleaded guilty to assault, was jailed for eight years at the Bronx Supreme Court, to be followed by five years probation.

Ms Jordan, who was joined in court by a group of around 20 friends, broke down in tears as her attacker told Judge Peter Benitez that he was sorry for what he had done.

Dressed in a grey tracksuit, Bynum told the Judge: "I didn't know what had happened that night.

"I had been drinking and partying with my friends," adding, "I didn't know that I had hurt anybody."

Judge Benitez told Alisha that she had lived everybody's nightmare and commended her for her recovery.

"I see you as victorious," he told her.

Irish Independent

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