Belfast man tells how 'one punch' attack' nearly claimed his life
A BELFAST man who was left fighting for his life after he suffered a "devastating blow" to the head in Australia has spoken for the first time about the assault which left his life hanging in the balance.
Almost three months after the attack in Sydney Michael Hyndman said he feels "lucky to be alive".
The quantity surveyor, who moved to Australia in September with his fiancée Clar, told how he ended up in hospital after a night out as a "result of just one punch".
Saying his situation should act as a warning to others, he said: "It is important that people fully understand the consequences of throwing just one punch as in this case it is this one punch that almost cost me my life."
The 23 year-old told how he was looking forward to starting a new life and had planned to start training with Craobh Phadraigh GAA club in Sydney in January.
However on new year’s eve his family in Belfast was told he was in hospital after sustaining a head injury in an altercation.
Fearing for his life, relatives flew out to be by his bedside.
Placed in an induced coma, Mr Hyndman had to undergo surgery to remove part of his skull to reduce pressure on his brain.
In the wake of the attack his family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to fund his treatment. To date, the campaign has raised almost £18,000.
The Belfast man has now spoken for the first time about his "nightmare" experience, which he said has served as a daily reminder that "each moment on this earth is not guaranteed and is indeed very precious and fragile".
He told how he ended up in hospital after a night out with close friends and his fiancee as a "result of just one punch".
Mr Hyndman said it was "important that people fully understand the consequences of throwing just one punch, as in this case it is this one punch that almost cost me my life.
"It was one punch that saw me spend days in a coma, literally fighting for my life, while those I love looked on in despair," he said.
"It was one punch that has left me in the state I am today and although I feel lucky to be alive and know I have come so far, I will never need reminding that my future at one point was hanging in the balance and still remains uncertain.
"It was just one punch that caused us to be catapulted into this living nightmare and I hope that sharing my story I can prevent even one person from throwing that life-altering in some cases fatal, punch in the future."
It is understood that one person was arrested and has been charged in connection with the attack.
Mr Hyndman said he is "awaiting clearance" to fly home to Northern Ireland.
"I want to say a massive thank you to everyone, those who know me and those who simply wanted to help me after reading/hearing my story.
"You have supported me and my family, not only financially but emotionally and I am so thankful for that, and forever grateful."