A former Dundee youth footballer who battled back from a coma has said he will be dealing with the aftermath of his injuries for the rest of his life.
John Black was taken to Ninewells Hospital following an alleged assault at Old Hawkhill, Dundee, in October.
The 20-year-old spent weeks in intensive care and was in a coma before undergoing major surgery last week to have a plate inserted in his head.
John spoke exclusively to the Tele as his family presented a cheque to three departments at Ninewells Hospital following a fundraiser.
He said: “When I am with my friends and family I put on a brave face for them, but the reality is I am much more worried about it. I’m mostly scared of getting an infection — the doctor said the risk is really high.
“One of the biggest upsets is knowing what my family and friends have had to go through. Saying that, I am feeling much better and I was really thankful to get home for Christmas.”
John, from Blairgowrie, said he will be taking his recovery “one day at a time” and that one of the biggest changes since the head injury has been his emotions, as he has found himself getting upset at things that would previously not have bothered him.
He paid tribute to the doctors and nurses at Ninewells who saved his life and thanked people within his support structure, saying that “everyone has been amazing”.
He said: “Everyone at the hospital has been brilliant.
“All my friends have been so supportive — and all the Dundee FC fans.
“My family has helped me so much.
“It will be something I am dealing with for the rest of my life. If I want to go out with friends, I will need to be careful I don’t fall over or anything.”
John had spent a year “bulking up” after being let go by Dundee FC, having been told by coaches that he was technically capable of playing at the highest level, but was under-sized.
His hospital stay has stripped him of his progress and he admits that his “dream” of being a professional footballer is all but over, adding: “My priority now is getting better.”
John’s mum June, 66, added: “There was definitely a chance that he would be picked up by a professional club — that dream is gone now and I think it is a damn shame.”
One of the lighter points of John’s recovery came the day he woke from the coma — with him demanding a number for his former Dundee FC gaffer Paul Hartley in a bid to offer his footballing services to the now Falkirk manager.
A man has appeared in court charged in connection with the alleged assault.
Robert Chambers, of Dundee, appeared at the city’s sheriff court in October facing a single charge of assault to severe injury and danger of life.
The 23-year-old made no plea and the case was continued for further examination.