San Francisco police are investigating claims that critically injured GAA star Mark McGovern was told: “You won’t get up after that,” after the off-the-ball incident that left him in a coma.
The 22-year-old from Belcoo in Fermanagh continues to make slight progress but is still unconscious after suffering a brain injury on his debut for the Ulster GAA club last Saturday night.
Rising Fermanagh county player McGovern had travelled to the US on a J1 visa to spend the summer playing gaelic football with the Ulster outfit in San Francisco.
Team-mates with the Ulster club have reportedly claimed to police that the opponent from the Celts team involved in the incident allegedly told McGovern: “You won’t get up from that.”
Ulster team coach Joe Duffy has told reporters that he didn’t see the incident but he heard one of his players tell the police that he witnessed a Celts player standing over a prone McGovern and saying ‘you won’t get up from that’.
Police have now spoken to players from both the Ulster and Celts club and have also interviewed the match referee and his assistants,
Coach Duffy has revealed that he ran onto the field 10 minutes into the second-half when he was alerted that one of his players was down injured.
He recalled: “I didn’t even know who it was. Mark was unconscious. And he went from being in the fetal position to on his back and then he had seizures.
“At that time, we didn’t know what happened. We were obviously more concerned with getting Mark some medical attention.”
Duffy has also stated that there was no noticeable fracas in the game between his Ulster team and a Celts side made up largely of American born gaelic footballers.
“The game was not played in a bad-tempered way,” added Duffy who has filed a police report.
McGovern’s team-mate Terence Tracey said: “I was playing in the game and did not see the incident, it was off the ball. To my knowledge you will not get an eyewitness.”
The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the name of the player allegedly involved in the incident with McGovern, recovering at the city’s General Hospital.
Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said: “There was some kind of on-field incident. There’s an investigation but there’s no arrest and nothing further.”