Injured Gaelic footballer wakes up after five weeks in coma

After five weeks in a coma, Mark McGovern has awakened.

The 22-year-old Gaelic football player has been fighting for his life at San Francisco General Hospital since suffering brain injuries during an off-the-ball incident in a match on Treasure Island.

On Sunday, McGovern’s family said in a Facebook statement that the decorated footballer has regained consciousness and is “fully aware of his surroundings and everyone around him.” His condition has improved from critical to serious, according to the report.

“Mark is yet to talk but has been trying to lip words,” the family said.

Despite hopes for a full recovery, doctors say he still has a long way to go and remains at risk for infection. The family praised SFGH doctors for their “absolutely amazing” care.

Just days before his injury, McGovern arrived in San Francisco to play for Ulster Club this summer. He was injured in his first game against the Celts.

San Francisco police have named Celts player Patrick Power, 27, as a person of interest in their investigation of the incident. Power was seen standing over the injured McGovern, though there were few witnesses to the hit.

The apparent fracas happened “off the ball” and away from the center of action. At the time, Ulster coach Joe Duffy said his players heard Power say, “He won’t get up from that,” when McGovern went down.

No arrests have been made as a result of the injury and Power has not officially been named as a suspect. Esparza said police are asking anyone with information to get in touch with investigators.

“We need to have witnesses come forward,” Esparza said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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