GAA player Mark McGovern thankful of second chance after critical injury
Making a miraculous recovery after critical injury in San Francisco
Doctors have hailed Mark McGovern’s recovery as a miracle, after the Fermanagh GAA player sustained a serious brain injury following an off-the-ball incident in San Francisco last June.
Speaking from San Francisco, in one of his first interviews since the incident, McGovern, 23, told the Irish Voice that he has a blurred memory of the events of June 25.
Only five days after arriving on the West Coast, during his first appearance with the Ulster club in San Francisco, McGovern was allegedly struck by a member of the opposing team in the second half of the game.
A San Francisco Celts player, Patrick Power, 26, was arrested in relation to the incident but was released without charge pending further investigation. He was handed a 96-week Gaelic games ban from a San Francisco Competitions Control Committee.
Meanwhile, McGovern has been advised by doctors he will never play Gaelic football again.
“I remember the first half of the game,” said McGovern, who has been left with colossal medical bills amounting to more than $1 million for his treatment in the U.S.
“I remember where the ball was, and running towards it, I went to go for it and the next thing I knew I was laying on the ground. I cannot really remember waking up,” he told the Irish Voice.
“Even the doctor told me that some doctors wouldn’t have even tried to keep me alive. I must have been in a bad state, death was at the door. Definitely God or someone was looking down on me.”
Following the incident McGovern was immediately rushed to San Francisco General Hospital where he remained in critical condition for over two weeks.
“The kind of injury that Mark has was deep inside the brain. It's the kind of injury that we see when someone has had a high speed motor vehicle accident, like crashing at 60-miles an hour and the car rolls over,” Professor Shirley Stiver, a neurosurgeon at San Francisco General Hospital told the BBC.
“Many times similar patients with a very similar neurological exam or a very similar x-ray picture would have died on the scene,” Stiver added.
Back at home in Belcoo in Fermanagh, the phone call from San Francisco came at 6 a.m. on the Sunday morning following the incident.
McGovern’s sister Grace recalls the moment vividly. Mark being the youngest of four siblings, when they first heard the news the family feared the worst.
“I went up and saw my sister outside the house crying on the phone. When I asked what was wrong she said, ‘It’s the child,’ as she’s the eldest. ‘He’s is in a coma in San Fran after an injury,’” Grace told the Irish Voice.
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