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"I'm Getting Fit & Coming Home" - Mark McGovern

Sep. 29, 2011

On BBC Newsline this evening (Thursday @ 6.30pm) Mark McGovern talks for the very first time since he suffered the injury that hospitalised him for three months. The Belcoo Gaelic footballer was left in a coma after an off the ball incident, whilst playing for Ulster San Francisco on 25th June.

BBC Sport NI's Thomas Kane has travelled to the United States to speak to the 22 year old who is out of hospital and working hard on his rehabilitation. He says he wants to return home as fit and healthy as he was when he left, at the start of the Summer.

"I just wanted to get out and back to what I was like, running, this is me. I need to keep fit and I want to keep fit. I want to go back home the same way as I came over here. So I always have that in my head."

In the first of a two part Newsline exclusive, Mark speaks about his recovery, the support he has received from far and wide and his determination to get home as soon as possible.

Our incredible pictures show the remarkable progress being made by Belcoo GAA star.

The 22-year-old, who was left with a serious head head injury following an attack playing a GAA match in San Francisco in June, is undergoing extensive therapy in the States and is getting stronger every single day.

Now his family has revealed to the Impartial Reporter that they are preparing for the return journey to Fermanagh, which will be via boat and will take up to two weeks. They are planning for Mark to come home at the end of October.

Speaking from America this week, Mark's sister Grace said: "He can't wait to get home, and we can't wait either. We have been advised not to fly because the air pressure of the plane. We're not looking forward to the long journey but at least it's one step further to finally coming home."

Doctors and therapists at San Francisco Hospital have said the young man's tremendous progress has "blown them away".

"I always had faith, I never once feared that we would lose Mark even when doctors told us he was 95 per cent gone," beamed Grace.

Indeed, his recovery has come as a huge relief for the family and his girlfriend Jessica Turley, who have been by his side ever since the accident took place. Now they just want to get back to Fermanagh. However, they say they will take things slowly once they return.

"Mark can't wait to get home. He has been very inquisitive from the moment he was able to communicate with us. If any of his friends saw him they wouldn't notice anything any different, apart from, maybe, his speech but that will come in time. I would say, though, that people need to understand that Mark needs a lot of rest. For him to walk is like a marathon to us. He's doing well but he has a long and slow road to go. We won't be rushing him," she said.

Find out more about his brave battle on BBC Newsline, 6.30pm, on BBC1 this Thursday and Friday.





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