Cork boy (2) ‘smiling and laughing’ again despite hit and run injuries

Zac Higgins cannot yet speak or walk after being struck by car outside his home

Zac Higgins (2) pictured at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Courtesy of Cork’s Red FM

Zac Higgins (2) pictured at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Courtesy of Cork’s Red FM


A two-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a brain injury after he was knocked down in a hit and run last month is sitting up, smiling and laughing but cannot yet speak or walk.

Zac Higgins, from Mahon in Cork city, has been diagnosed with a diffuse axonal injury (DAI) to the brain following the incident.

The toddler is being treated at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin for the brain injury.

His mother, Aishling Sexton, told the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s Red FM, that while his long-term condition remained uncertain, they were feeling hopeful for his future.

“He is doing well considering where he was last week. He wasn’t even holding his head up last week and he started sitting up this week. From that perspective he is doing great.

“I am always asking what they [doctors] think the outcome will be with him and they just don’t know. Because of the nature of that injury, it is just a waiting game. We are hopeful.”

Zac has a feeding tube but nurses are starting to spoonfeed him. According to his mother, most importantly, he is cheerful and on the mend. Visits from his siblings, Max (7) and Belle (4), have helped to lift his spirits.

“He is smiling. He is laughing. He knew his brother and sister when they came up to see him.

“I was playing Baby Shark on my phone and his whole face started to light up. All we can do is hope. It is going to be a long road. But it is better to have a long road than no road.”


Some 4,000 people turned out for a family fun day at Ringmahon Rangers football club in Cork on Easter Sunday raising €20,000 for Zac’s continuing care.

Cork City FC are set to play the club in a friendly next month to raise funds for the toddler. Entry to the match on May 12th will be free, with donations accepted from those who attend.

His mother described the support as “unbelieveable” and she said the family was hugely appreciative of every contribution made.

Zac incurred serious injuries after being knocked down when he ran on to the road while playing with a ball at Castle Meadows, in Mahon, Cork city, on March 25th. He was hit by a blue Mazda 6 which left the scene.

Gardaí are to forward a file to the DPP after releasing without charge a 17-year-old man arrested for questioning about the hit and run. They have also spoken to two of the three passengers they believe were in the car at the time.

Donations can be made to the Go Fund Me Page at