FORMER Fermanagh and Down GAA player Shane King has said he is “hopeful and taking things day by day” after his teenage son suffered a brain injury in a fall from a mountain bike.
Patrick King (15) came off the bike while travelling down a hill in Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor on Saturday.
He is currently sedated and in intensive care in Craigavon Area Hospital, with his father describing his condition as “stable”.
Mr King has asked people to keep his son in their prayers and said he and his wife Elizabeth have taken it in turns to maintain a bedside vigil.
He told The Irish News: “When he is ready to open his eyes we’ll be here for him. My wife and I haven’t left his side since Saturday.”
Patrick, who celebrated his 15th birthday just earlier this month, was with friends when the accident happened.
Mr King said: “The helmet took most of the impact and it has been cracked on both sides. He was unconscious for a while and had pains in the neck.
“When his friends got him back on the bus after the fall he became erratic; he was talking gibberish basically. When he got to the hospital he didn’t recognise his mum and his aunt.
“An MRI scan showed light bleeding on the brain, which has suffered some bruising, as well as two fractured vertebrae.”
He added: “When you drop your kid off you don’t think that the next time you will see them will be in intensive care.”
A Year 11 pupil at St Colman’s College in Newry, Patrick also suffered a head injury two years ago.
15-year-old Patrick King suffered a brain injury after coming off his mountain bike in Co Down on Saturday. Picture from Facebook
Although involved with Bryansford GAA club, the teenager’s “sport of choice” is mountain biking, his father said.
Mr King joked that he had been out on the bikes with his son but had been “unable to keep up” with the “typical teenager”.
Thanking well-wishers, he said the family had been “inundated” with messages of support.
“No medical intervention is required at this stage and we would be hopeful with time, but they just don’t know how long it will take.”
The former GAA star, who was also an SDLP candidate in local government elections in 2014, said the inability to speak to their son has been the most distressing aspect for him and his wife.
“It would be nice if he could open his eyes and we could speak to him, but we are incredibly lucky. It could be far worse.
“Thank God we bought him the best helmet.”