Coma footballer Niall Grace can’t wait to get back on pitch

Institute FC midfielder Niall Grace was well enough to attend his clubs match against Lurgan Celtic at the weekend
Institute FC midfielder Niall Grace was well enough to attend his clubs match against Lurgan Celtic at the weekend

A footballer who has regained conciousness after being placed in an induced coma following a ‘one-punch attack’ in Londonderry can’t wait to get back on the football pitch.

Niall Grace, a midfielder for Championship One side Institute FC, was rushed to hospital with a serious head injury after an attack during a night out in Londonderry last month.

The midfielder is still on the road to recovery but has already made a remarkable return to health.

He even attended Institute’s 2-1 win over Lurgan Celtic at the weekend, despite having been in intensive care just two weeks ago.

“I’m waiting for my mammy and daddy and the doctor to give me the go-ahead,” he said.

“Until the doctor says ‘look Niall you are ready to go back’, I’ll then wait until my family is ready.

“But I just can’t wait to get my fitness back, back playing football and back to where I was, and the ultimate goal is to get back out on to the pitch.”

Niall admitted he’s still coming to terms with how serious an injury he suffered but he’s slowly starting to get back to his old self.

“I’m still coming to grips with that, as I’m gathering information from my family about how serious it actually was and how close I actually came, but I’m still getting to grasp how serious it was, but I think after seeing all the messages on Facebook and speaking to my own family, I’m starting to understand how lucky I am and how close I came, but I’m happy now where I am,” he added.

“I can’t thank people enough for their support, the reaction and support from everyone has really taken me back.

“People couldn’t do enough for my family and it just shows you how big a family ‘Stute is, and not just ‘Stute, but local football and people in Derry really do look out for each other.

“Even people from outside of Derry have been messaging me and they couldn’t do enough, and that kind of thing really took me back, as it was amazing.”