Liverpool fan Séan Cox `trying to sing familiar songs' during Christmas spent with family at Dun Laoghaire rehabilitation centre
LIVERPOOL fan Seán Cox, who was left in a coma after being attacked before a match in April, spent Christmas with his family in hospital where he can now say more words and is "trying very hard to sing along to familiar songs".
Martina Cox gave well-wishers an end of year update on the 53-year-old from Dunboyne, Co Meath as "a huge expression of gratitude to everyone" for their support.
The Support Seán Campaign has raised €1.1 million to date, with a rehabilitation trust distributing funds to meet the costs of his future care.
"We spent a lot of time over Christmas with Seán in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, where he is continuing to make progress," Mrs Cox said.
"He no longer has a feeding tube so is starting to eat and drink again with the help of the wonderful nursing staff.
"Seán has some more words and is trying very hard to sing along to familiar songs; these are encouraging and proud steps for us all."
The father-of-three suffered "catastrophic injuries" when he was assaulted less than an hour before kick-off at the Champions League semi-final in Liverpool.
Roma fan Filippo Lombardi ( 21) was cleared of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Cox but jailed for three years for violent disorder, while 29-year-old Daniele Sciusco, also from Rome, admitted violent disorder and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
"Our family used the time with Seán over Christmas to try and relay to him the public goodwill and support there has been for him over the eight months since his attack," Mrs Cox said.
"We have shown him social media posts, press clippings and videos from fundraising events across Ireland, England and further afield, the GoFundMe page and the SupportSean.com website, letters and signed jerseys all in aid of Sean and his recovery."
Mrs Cox said it has been "an exceptionally difficult time" but she and children Jack, Shauna and Emma have been comforted by "the overwhelming goodwill of Seán's family, friends, supporters and the general public".
"This time last year we were an ordinary family looking forward to another New Year and what that would bring. Seán or I never dreamt that 12 months on, there would be websites or media interviews or fundraising events all brought about by what happened after Seán was attacked.
"... While we have a battle ahead again in 2019, our burden is lightened by this love and support for Seán... Thank you and Happy New Year."