Belfast Telegraph

We're just living hour by hour, says father of injured GAA star Ronan Clarke

By Declan Bogue

The father of injured GAA footballer Ronan Clarke has spoken of how his family are living hour by hour as their son remains in intensive care.

Adrian Clarke said the 32-year-old was making gradual progress in hospital following his collision with a goalpost during a club match on Saturday.

"He had a good night," added Mr Clarke, a former Carrickmore GAA club team manager. "We are quite happy to date with his progress, and as far as we can ascertain at the present time, he is making gradual progress.

"With this situation, it is going to take time, but the signs are good at the present time. We are happy in that respect.

"If you were to put a time-frame on it, we just don't know. It's day by day, hour by hour."

The former Armagh player, who was on the 2002 All-Ireland winning side, suffered a serious head injury while playing for his club, Pearse Og, against Maghery in the Armagh club championship on Saturday.

Ronan collided with the goalpost at speed during the game and was quickly taken to the intensive care unit at Craigavon Area Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma and remains in a serious but stable condition.

"The ball was coming into the square and he was watching the ball," his father said. "He was looking for the ball and went into the post.

"When I was bringing him to hospital, he was lapsing in and out of consciousness. I was talking to him to keep him awake.

"When we got to the hospital, they took over completely and carried out their task professionally. [They] did what they had to do, and, thankfully, it has proven the correct course of action, no doubt about it.

Ronan was initially treated for his injury on the pitch and wanted to continue to play the rest of the match.

"He had no intention of leaving the field," Adrian explained. "There was only about five minutes left in the game, but he wanted to continue and he said he was all right.

"Even afterwards, in the course of conversation with the paramedics after the game, he said he was all right."

Mr Clarke also thanked the GAA community and the general public for their heartfelt sympathy and messages of support, which flooded in following the tragic accident.

Belfast Telegraph

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