THE DEVASTATED family of a Donegal teen involved in a horrific car crash are “praying for a miracle” as the young man continues to fight for his life in a British hospital.
Relatives of Conor Boyle this week spoke of how the 18-year-old is battling severe head injuries as well as the collapsed lungs and broken bones he suffered in a late-night accident.
“It is a miracle that we need,” Conor’s father Hugh told The Irish Post. “But we are not giving up hope.”
Speaking from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where the teen was moved to a specialist neurological unit this week, he said his son is in a “stable but very critical” condition.
“We were not expecting it to be this serious at all,” Mr Boyle added. “We thought the lungs were the main damage. Conor is in the best place in the country, but whatever damage is done is done.”
On Wednesday afternoon the teen remained in a coma and on life-support.
Conor came off the road just outside Peterborough in the early hours of Saturday, September 7, and crashed into a tree.
He was driving late at night after being held up for several hours at the Dartford Crossing, due to a security scare, on his way home from work.
As relatives continued to fly out to be at his bedside this week, a family friend told The Irish Post about the impact of the tragedy at home.
“The mood here in Donegal is that we are totally devastated,” she said. “We feel really numb and really helpless because there is nothing we can do being so far away from him except pray. People are praying for this boy worldwide.”
Describing Conor as “bubbly, very athletic and full of fun”, she added that families from across Donegal packed out Annagry Church this week at a special service for the teenager.
The tragedy became the focus of international attention at the weekend, as sports stars and celebrities rallied behind Conor’s family on social media.
Fellow GAA star Paul Galvin, Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and stars of the hit MTV show Geordie Shore also asked their followers to pray for Conor.
“Twitter went through the roof,” said Conor’s father. “The family is overwhelmed by the support.”
Conor was showing positive signs early last week as he was taken out of sedation, but suffered a setback when doctors had to put him back on a ventilator because of breathing difficulties.
The 18-year-old, who hails from the Gaeltacht village of Loughanure and is a keen GAA player, recently moved to Britain after completing his Leaving Cert.
He was working as a labourer for his father’s Doncaster-based tunnelling company and planned to stay here for a year before returning home to go to college.
Conor’s father said doctors are now trying to ease him out of sedation again and are waiting to see how he reacts to different combinations of painkillers.
“But Conor has been in a coma since the accident, which they are concerned about, and the longer you are in a coma, the more serious the damage is,” Mr Boyle added.