Car smash teenager Odhrán 'facing biggest battle of life'
The family of a young GAA player who suffered a serious head injury in a car crash say he is "fighting his biggest-ever battle".
Odhrán McKenna (17) is a talented athlete at St John's GAA club in west Belfast and was injured when his car left the road and hit a tree in Crumlin, Co Antrim, on February 26.
A picture was posted online on Sunday of the St Mary's Grammar pupil giving the thumbs up from his hospital bed with the head of his senior school Donna Tohill.
He is now said to be "making great progress" in his recovery, much to the delight of his family and friends.
St John's GAA have been posting updates from Odhrán's family of his progress on their Facebook page.
Following the crash Odhrán was taken to the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and heavily sedated to give him the best chance of recovery.
On the day after the accident a statement from his family read: "Anyone who knows Odhrán will know he is a battler on the pitch. He is fighting his biggest battle ever at the minute. No better man. Keep praying".
A few days later, medical teams had begun to reduce his sedation. His family said there had been some setbacks and the process was slower than they had hoped for.
They praised the medical teams caring for him and said they hoped "Odhrán will be able to thank you all in person at some stage". Two days after that he was said to be in a "delicate stage" but that he was showing signs of recovery in what was called "a slow, arduous process for him".
One week on from his crash Odhrán was finally woken from sedation.
On Saturday his family said he had made "unbelievable progress".
"Odhrán has just been moved from ICU to the neurological ward, has spoken to his family and has eaten for the first time," they said.
They said "the speed of his progress has been unbelievable".
Odhrán's twin brother CJ said his family was grateful for all the support.
"Couldn't thank everyone enough but continue to keep Odhrán in your prayers and thoughts," he said.
After Odhrán's teacher, Ms Tohill, visited him in hospital, his school said in a statement: "We are all delighted to see Odhrán making great progress."
The latest picture of the teenager, smiling from his hospital bed, has prompted hundreds of friends to post their messages of support online.
John McIlwaine said: "This has brightened all our days.
"Great to see your fightback continue."
Matthew Mallon said: "Great to see the main man with the thumbs up!"
"What a great pic," said Aidan Quinn.
"Seeing this has put a massive smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Here's to a speedy and full recovery Odhrán."
Jim Mullan added his encouragement, saying: "Showing great strength and fight. Keep going the right road."