Ronan Clarke in humorous video for fundraiser
ALL Ireland star Ronan Clarke has made his first public appearance since suffering a brain injury during a championship match in a humorous video to highlight a fundraising drive for the hospital unit which gave his lifesaving treatment.
Clarke, who celebrate his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, returned to the gym which he runs with his brother Conor to lend support for the evening being organised by team mates from his Co Armagh club Pearse Og on Saturday October 17.
`Clarke Fitness' and 'CrossFit Armagh' is contributing with all `bootcamp' workouts free this week and next week, with donations be given instead to the Intensive Care Unit in Craigavon Area Hospital.
The 2002 All Ireland medal winner spent days in an induced coma after colliding with a goalpost during the match against rivals Maghery at the Athletic Grounds on August 14.
During his time in intensive care there was an outpouring of support for the popular forward - who had married wife Michelle just two weeks before - from the wider GAA family.
And while Pearse Og is spearheading the fundraising efforts, the self-effacing star has been keen to do his bit and recorded the short video of support.
"Thank you very much for all the well wishes after my accident," he begins.
"In return Clarke Fitness will be hosting a Bootcamp from 6-16 October in conjunction with Pearse Og's fundraiser for the Intensive Care Unit of Craigavon Hospital. All donations of proceeds will go to the Intensive Care Unit."
The video then cuts to Clarke, now dressed in a yellow padded Ice Hockey kit, where he thanks `Total Hockey' for: "supplying the gear for my next game", before putting on a study helmet, patting it approvingly and giving fans a `thumbs up' sign.
The `Clarke Fitness' Facebook home page pays tribute to the hospital unit "who played a huge role in Ronan Clarke's recovery".
It is the second time Clarke has thanked friends and fans for the deluge of good wishes he and his family received while he was in hospital.
After being discharged he took to social media to express his gratitude for the support saying he was "completely overwhelmed and heartened by the volume of good wishes on social media from all sections of the community and the concern and sensitivity shown by the press and television.
"I have nothing but the highest praise for the excellent treatment I received in Craigavon Area Hospital from the consultants, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff. I will always be in their debt."
The fundraiser will be held at the club itself and feature music by the blues/reggae band The Brown Notes and will be attended by a number of Clarke's Orchard County 2002 All Ireland-winning team mates.
Tickets are £5 and available from members or the bar and donations can be made via PayPal or go to on the Donate Social Button on 'Clarke Fitness' Facebook page: https://goo.gl/XWyjk1