The Irish gaelic footballer assaulted and seriously injured in a match just days after he arrived in San Francisco has re-lived the horror attack.
Now home in Fermanagh, Mark McGovern spoke to Irish radio presenter Des Cahill about his harrowing ordeal last June.
The 23-year-old arrived back in the village of Belcoo this week after a 14 day trip by sea and land from the West Coast of America.
As his family come to terms with the $1.2 million cost of his medical care, police are investigating the assault involving opponent Patrick Power of the San Francisco Celts club.
Power has received a 96-week ban from all GAA activities and is under investigation by local police after the fracas with McGovern, playing his first game for the Ulster club just days after landing in America.
McGovern’s family were told to prepare for the worst when they first visited their son in a California hospital, such was the horrific nature of his head and brain injuries.
But the Fermanagh county player has defied medical opinion, first by regaining consciousness and then with his recovery to the extent that doctors in the U.S. were delighted to give him permission last month to return home.
“The long journey home was accompanied by a sense of relief,” McGovern told Cahill on RTE radio.
“I don’t really remember much about what happened. The lad hit me a couple of times. I gave him a box just to let him know I was there, but he kept hitting me.
“Later on, when I ran forward to help take a ball, he pretty much came up and whacked me. I can’t really remember what happened afterwards.”
Now under medical care in his home village, McGovern conceded that it will be some time before he is completely recovered from his ordeal.
“My speech still has to be worked on; my balance, too, has a lot to be said for it,” he told Cahill.
“I’ll have rehab running for the next six months, probably longer. I can’t work, can’t drive and can’t drink, either. It’ll be a quiet year for me.”
A fund has been set-up to help the McGovern family cope with the mounting cost of Mark’s treatment.
Further details are available at www.support4markmcgovern.com.
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