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Former GAA star Shane King feels 'incredibly blessed' as teenage son returns home after sustaining brain injury in fall

Patrick King (15) returned home from hospital for the first time since sustaining a brain injury in a fall from a mountain bike. Picture from Shane King/Facebook
John Monaghan

FORMER GAA star Shane King has told how he feels "incredibly blessed and lucky" after his teenage was discharged from hospital after sustaining a brain injury in a fall from a mountain bike.

Patrick King (15) was in intensive care and had been placed in an induced coma after coming off the bike in Kilbroney Forest Park in Rostrevor in March.

His father Shane had appealed for prayers for his son, whose helmet was cracked by the impact of the fall, following the accident.

The teenager was left with two broken vertebrae and sustained bruising to the brain.

Mr King, who played inter-county football for both Down and Fermanagh, had been maintaining a bedside vigil with his wife Elizabeth.

At the time he said the family was hopeful of a recovery and "were taking things day by day".

Such was the rate of progress that Patrick was discharged from hospital last week.

Yesterday Mr King hailed his son's recovery as "phenomenal".

Mr King told The Irish News: "We feel incredibly blessed and lucky. A lot of the bruising is starting to go away.

"His balance and co-ordination has been off but everything seems to be going well."

Although referrals and X-rays to monitor his condition will be required over coming weeks, Mr King said he "would be hopeful" his son will be able to return to school - St Colman's College in Newry - within the next month.

"He is a hearty wee lad and he is keen to go back to school. The concern regarding school would be how do we manage his school bag, given that he has two broken vertebrae," he said.

"We would be hopeful that within the next three to four weeks we could try to get him into school.

"His rate of recovery has been phenomenal, given that this day two weeks ago school would have been the last thing on my mind."

Mr King added: "With any head injury it is difficult to say because the recovery time will be different for each person. It has been a very worrying time but everything is heading in the right direction."

In a Facebook message, Mr King said he wanted to thank all well-wishers "from the bottom of my heart" for their support since the accident.

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