THE family of a Derry soccer player left fighting for his life after a one-punch attack have said he has made ‘significant progress’ over the last few days.
Niall Grace, a midfielder for Institute Football Club, has already undergone major surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital to relieve swelling and a clot on the brain.
A statement on Institute’s Facebook page said: “He is conscious and talking and able to recognise family and friends.
“He has also been moved from the intensive care unit to a main hospital ward where his progress will continue to be monitored.
“Whilst Niall is still showing signs of confusion and frustration, the family are hopeful that his condition will continue to improve over the coming weeks.
“Finally, the Grace family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation for the love and generosity they have been shown during this difficult time.”
Mr Grace, who is from Shantallow, joined the ranks of Institute FC last December, where his warm personality and skill on the pitch endeared him with both team-mates and fans alike.
Mr Deery said everyone at the club is having a tough time and missed their team-mate.
“Niall is sorely missed from both training sessions and matches and it is tough for everyone at the club right now,” he said.
“As well as being their team-mate, Niall is friends with the players and they are keen to get to Belfast to visit him, they just want him well again.”
A man has been charged with the attack on September 11.
Matthew McDermott (22), of Cornshell Fields in Derry, was granted bail at the High Court in Belfast.