herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Dad's plea for help for son paralysed after brick attack

Victim Shane Grogan
Victim Shane Grogan

A young man left in a vegetative state after he was hit in the head with a brick has been forced to live in a nursing home and has had to go to the UK for treatment.

An attack four years ago left Shane Grogan paralysed and unable to communicate. He now needs 24-hour care.

The 26-year-old was walking his girlfriend home in 2012 when he was struck on the head with a brick by a former Shamrock Rovers player.

His attacker, Shane Byrne, was later jailed for two-and-a-half years for the assault.

Shane's family have hit out at the fact that their son was forced to travel abroad for treatment and can only be cared for here in a nursing home despite his young age.

He spent three months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire and had a similar stay in the Leamington Spa Rehabilitation facility in the UK, a hospital that specialises in treating brain injury patients. He now lives in a nursing home.

His father, Joe, has called for a fresh look at how Ireland treats those with acquired brain injuries.

"They had a whole different style of treatment [in the UK] and we got a much better understanding of his condition and what we could do to assist him with his treatment," he said.

Shane remains in a minimal conscious state and must be fed by tube.

While there has been little improvement in his condition, he does respond to music and pet therapy.

"It's just little things that can make a difference," Joe said.

"These young people should not be in nursing homes where very little can be done for them. It's down to a lack of resources.

"We don't want to just leave Shane and others like him sitting in front of televisions. We want to do anything we can to stimulate them."

Injuries

They and other families facing similar battles are now seeking a new centre where young people who have brain injuries can stay when they are not being treated in the NRH.

Through a new group, An Saol Foundation, they hope to lobby politicians to support a three-year pilot project to develop support for people like Shane.

For more information see www.ansaol.ie or the Care for Shane idonate webpage.

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