Greatly encouraging news from California this week that young Fermanagh Gaelic footballer, Mark McGovern continues to make excellent progress from the horrific injuries sustained in June. Mark has spoken publicly for the first time about his miraculous recovery from a brain injury which left him in a coma for five weeks, in an interview with BBC Northern Ireland’s Newsline programme.
“One of my doctors told me that I was 97.5 per cent dead,”
“At that stage I really, really did think of it as a miracle how bad I was. I never even knew how bad a shape I was until I was speaking to the doctor. It was a shock to know that I was that close to death, so it’s just amazing that I even came out of it.”
He is, he said : “Working hard like I know that I want to get home”.
Twenty-three years old ,McGovern is though , and for some weeks yet will be, undergoing intensive one-on-one rehabilitation in California, where Loren Hollander, his physical therapist at the Laguna Honda Rehab Hospital commented: “It’s a miracle what he’s able to do. The most amazing progress I’ve seen in my career. He’s truly an inspiration for all.”
Mark’s sister, Grace, who (like the rest of his family) has been by his bedside since he has been hospitalised, told the ‘Fermanagh Herald’ that the family hoped he could return to Belcoo before Christmas, perhaps as early as ‘some time in November’.
Grace McGovern added that the family, and Mark, were assured by a senior neurologist that, despite the severity of his injuries, he would fully recover.
“I feel he will make a 100% recovery and this too was reiterated by the chief neurologist last week when Mark had a TBI (traumatic brain injury) follow-up appointment at San Francisco General Hospital.
“She was showing Mark his MRI scans and discussing the severity of his injuries and how amazing it was that he was standing beside her today. She predicted that he’d make a 100 per cent recovery.
“She told him and us that she has been working for over 20 years and never saw such a recovery like Mark’s.”
“We truly believe it was the prayers and support from the people at home and here in San Francisco and, indeed all over the world, that helped Mark to where he is today, and for that we will be forever grateful.
“I know for a fact that Mark is a miracle- they keep calling him Miracle Mark,” Grace McGovern concluded.
He is aware that he has to come to terms with the fact that he will never be able to play football again. He is already formulating plans to teach Gaelic football to children
Meantime the local Police confirm that their investigations into the incident are continuing. A Celts, player, Patrick Power, who has been suspended for 96 weeks by the GAA ,was arrested but later released as the District Attorney did not file charges and asked the Police to continue with their investigations.
Hospital bills even after cost containment reductions remain in the region of USD 1 million and rising. The Mark McGovern Fundraising campaign continues – remember that the USD1 million is medical expenses only, to add must be added all the family costs in flying out and remaining with Mark plus the eventual high cost of medical repatriation. The family are extremely grateful for all the support they have received not only from the Hospital and Rehab clinic but also from family, friends and GAA and non GAA fans throughout this difficult time.
And once he has settle again with his family and friends what then? : “I just can’t wait to get home because of Irish TV, Irish food, just jamming with the boys,”
Grace McGovern concluded:-
“We truly believe it was the prayers and support from the people at home and here in San Francisco and, indeed all over the world, that helped Mark to where he is today, and for that we will be forever grateful.”