Family of San Francisco GAA player in coma appeal for video evidence
- By JANE O'BRIEN,IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
Published Sunday, July 31, 2011, 9:12 AM
Updated Sunday, July 31, 2011, 11:38 AM
Mark McGovern, a Gaelic football player from Fermanagh in the U.S. for the summer, was injured by a near-fatal blow to the head during a game in San Francisco earlier this month.
He still struggles to regain consciousness as his family says that the opposing team on the fateful day should be barred from future GAA contests.
They have appealed for video evidence they believe is available, Mark McGovern, 20, was left unconscious after an altercation with a player from the San Francisco Celts, but the player's devastated family claims the Celts have been uncooperative with San Francisco police officers investigating the incident and therefore should suffer the consequences.
"They're (the police) getting good cooperation from Mark's team but from the opposing team there's none of them coming up with information," McGovern's father Danny charges.
"They have videos and they're not bringing them up at all. I have done my best this week to get them barred completely from playing football."
It has transpired that there was someone with a video camera at the game who may have caught the incident.
Police have named an opposing player Patrick Power as a person of interest and have been communicating with him through his laywer.
McGovern traveled to San Francisco last month with the intention of playing for three months with the local Ulster San Francisco GAA team. But during a game against the Celts, a team comprised of mostly American-born players, he suffered a traumatic head injury that immediately left him unconscious.
After receiving immediate medical attention at the scene he was put into a medically induced coma which he is still struggling to come out of, though his extended family, which traveled from Fermanagh to be by his side, reports slight progress in his condition.
"As they say in the hospital baby steps every day in the right direction," Danny McGovern said.
McGovern's sister Connie added, "We're here every day, seven days a week sitting at his bedside being confident and being strong around him because we feel that he knows we are there."
The San Francisco Celts have extended sympathy to McGovern, and deny they are obstructing the police investigation.
"The San Francisco Celts continue to hold Mark McGovern and his family in their thoughts and prayers," said a statement issued by the team.
"The San Francisco Celts have been, and will continue to cooperate with all investigations regarding the incident."
The manager of the Ulster San Francisco team, Joe Duffy, told the San Francisco Weekly blog that while he didn't see the incident that resulted in McGovern's injury, a fellow teammate told police that he saw a Celts player standing over McGovern and saying "you won't get up from that."
McGovern is a well-regarded member of the Belcoo O'Rahilly's team in Fermanagh and a potential member of the county's senior football team in the future, should he recover fully from his injuries.