Forgiveness is in my heart but I want justice to be done

Published: 22 Dec 2011 13:000 comments

THE McGovern family from Belcoo never thought their Mark was going to see Christmas this year after the Gaelic footballer was attacked during a football match in America in June, leaving him in a coma for two months. His condition was so bad doctors said he was "95 per cent gone".

Mark McGovern, back home in Belcoo.

But the Fermanagh man defied the odds; he woke from the coma and is now on the road to recovery. He's walking, he's talking and he's slowly but surely finding his feet again. Indeed, his progress has been nothing short of miraculous.

But while he's now back at home and surrounded by his loved ones [Parents Danny and Josie, sisters Grace, Connie and Helen and girlfriend Jessica] he does think back to that awful day, saying his wish for next year is to "see justice being done".

He also wants his speech and balance to get back to where it was before the ordeal.

Mark has no recollection of who allegedly attacked him during the football match or what happened [though this case has been widely reported in the States] but he says he won't be content until the person responsible is caught.

"I was nearly killed, really, when you think about it. The person who did this should be got for trying to kill me," he said.However, Mark, who credits his faith as something that is "very important" to him, says he has no bitterness towards the person responsible.

"I don't hate him, I forgive him. If I was with him now I'd ask him, why? Why do this to me? I do forgive him though. I have nothing but forgiveness for the person who assaulted me as I actually feel sorry for him to have carried out such an horrible attack. I'm in a much better position than he is now, but I'd be lying to say I have forgotten about the whole ordeal because I still get a bit down - it just hasn't set in my head yet".

This time last year things were so much different for the 23-year-old. "I had a job, I was going out at the weekend, I was able to buy presents. I can't do much of that this year, and I am around the house a lot. Things definitely aren't the same," he said.

Nevertheless, Mark is relieved to be home in Belcoo, and relieved to be spending this weekend with his supportive family.

"It was just six months ago when I was lying in my hospital bed. I could not walk nor talk, I was just so lifeless. I had to call one of my nurses in to take me to the toilet which was just six feet away from my bed - this was very frustrating for me," he said.

Not being able to communicate with anyone was the hardest thing for the young man to deal with. However, that changed one morning with the help of his beloved girlfriend, Jessica.

"She was the first in and I was in tears because I was not fit to do anything. It was then she started to get me talking, and for that I will be forever grateful to my Jessica. Only for her I believe I may not have been home until this December rather then October. She really was my shoulder I could lean on during that time and still is. My family have been very good to me from the start; they have been looking after me well. I am very grateful, of course I am," he said.

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