McGovern continues to have problems
CONCUSSION AWARENESS:ONE YEAR ago Fermanagh footballer Mark McGovern sustained brain damage after being struck by Patrick Power during a club game in San Francisco.
It was an off-the-ball incident for which Power, an Irish American, received a 96-week suspension and was subsequently questioned by the San Francisco Police Department.
McGovern’s friend Emmet Scallon was also on the field that day and vividly described the traumatic aftermath during the 25-minute wait for an ambulance.
“Mark was actually out, unconscious,” said Scallon on The Late, Late Show in March. “He was just lying there and starting to go into convulsions of seizures. Frothing at the mouth with blood. It was very scary. No response from him whatsoever.”
McGovern eventually came out of a six-week coma, forced to travel home in October by land and sea, where his rehabilitation successfully continued for a “95 per cent recovery” that medical observers have called a miracle.
“That’s (what I’ve) been told by many doctors. That it’s a miracle. I’m just glad I’m here today to be honest,” he said.
The 23-year-old, who can never play Gaelic football again, was speaking at the GAA concussion awareness launch in Croke Park yesterday.
He continues to have problems. “Short-term memory, cognitive thinking, word finding. If I was trying to say a word it might take three or four words to explain that word because I can’t find it.”
He also had to learn how to talk and walk all over again.
“The match was at 7pm on a Saturday evening (June 25th, 2011). I togged out like normal.
“I was playing wing back, I was having a good game but in the second half the manager says, ‘Mark you go midfield’ and that’s where I came across the guy who hit me.
“Straight from the throw up he was hitting me from the word go. Everywhere I turned he was there, hitting me away. Then the ball was in our defence, we were defending it and we got the ball out and were working it up to the forward line. I ran forward to support and the next thing was I woke up in San Francisco General Hospital.”
McGovern had only been in America five days when he played the game out in Treasure Island.
After a few weeks family and friends told him what happened. He was shown a picture of his alleged assailant.
“I knew there was a good chance that it could have been him because he kept hitting me and was vicious to me.”
The incident has led to other consequences in Mark’s every day life.