The distraught parents of a talented soccer star fighting for life after an unprovoked attack are making a mercy dash to Australia to be at his hospital bedside.
Danny Hodgson, 25, was attacked while on his way home from an end of season game in Perth on Saturday night.
A 15-year-old boy has since been charged with grievous bodily harm over the alleged attack on the British expat, who remains in an induced coma.
Mr Hodgson’s parents were desperate to be by their son’s bedside but have struggled to find a flight due to Australia’s strict coronavirus restrictions.
The couple secured a flight within hours of issuing a harrowing plea for help as friends rally around Mr Hodgson and his family.
The parents of British expat Danny Hodgson (pictured with his partner Jessica) are rushing to his hospital bedside after securing seats on a flight to Perth
‘It’s incredible that in 24 hours we have been able to achieve the impossible,’ Mr Hodgson’s mum Nicola wrote on Facebook.
‘I cannot thank everyone enough who has been involved. Our prayers have been answered and we have confirmed flights to Australia.
‘Danny still has a long journey ahead of him but the fact that me and Peter will be by his side through it gives us enormous comfort. It’s the most emotional experience I’ve ever had.
‘One act of violence has spurred thousands of acts of kindness and for that we will be eternally grateful.’
His parents are expected to arrive in Perth on Friday but will likely have to undergo two weeks of quarantine before they can see him.
Mr Hodgson’s girlfriend Jessica, aunt and uncle are the only visitors permitted at his bedside in the meantime.
Mr Hodgson has a long and challenging journey ahead of him and could remain in an induced coma for weeks or even months.
Danny Hodgson (pictured right) was on his way home after a night out with his teammates
Danny Hodgson (pictured with his partner Jessica) was knocked to the ground in an unprovoked attack. A teenager has since been charged
Almost $90,000 has already been raised towards his recovery, which included donations from Manchester United goalkeeper and personal friend, Dean Henderson, and retired England legend Alan Shearer.
‘The funds will go towards paying for his mortgage and other bills and to also allow his girlfriend to not worry about work during this time, Danny will need all the support he can,’ friend Steve Burton wrote a GoFundMe page.
The family’s original Facebook post was inundated with more than 6,000 shares and hundreds of comments within five hours.
Several tagged Western Australian premier Mark McGowan in the post to alert him of the family’s desperate situation.
‘Please help this family. An innocent victim and family hurt by someone here in WA. They should not suffer our border restrictions in getting to their son,’ one woman wrote.
Mr McGowan has responded, saying expediting Danny’s parents arrival would need to be cleared by the federal government.
‘This case is very upsetting for the community and in particular for the family involved,’ he told The West Australian.
‘International arrivals are a matter for the Commonwealth so in this case I would strongly support the Federal Government in being very understanding.’
The promising soccer star (pictured) is fighting for life in an induced coma
Danny’s family (pictured) back in the UK are desperate to be by his hospital bedside in Perth
Hodgson was on his way home from an end of season game on Saturday night when he was knocked to the ground from behind in an unprovoked attack at a Perth train station.
He was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital with severe head injuries, and underwent emergency surgery for bleeding to the brain and a skull fracture.
The personal trainer, originally from Cumbria in England’s north-west, has since suffered severe brain haemorrhaging, which required more surgery, and remains in an induced coma.
A GoFundMe page had raised more than $90,000 towards Danny Hodgson’s recovery within hours of being set up
Mr Hodgson is a talented striker who represented Great Britain at international level before moving to Australia at age 18 to progress his football career.
‘Danny is full of life and has a heart of gold, he is the most kind, gentle and positive person I know who has a passion for life and football,’ his mum wrote in the Facebook post.
He plays for ECU Joondalup in Western Australia’s National Premier League, where he won a premiership and the Golden Boot award as the leading goal scorer last season.
‘We are extremely saddened to report that our senior player Danny Hodgson is hospitalised with a bleed on the brain and a skull fracture after being attacked in the city on Saturday night,’ the club posted on Wednesday morning.
ECU coach Kenny Lowe who formerly coached in the A-League told Perth radio station 6PR that Mr Hodgson is a ‘top bloke’.
‘What’s happened – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I can’t imagine what it’s doing to his family being so far away,’ he said.
‘The big focus for us is Danny, and to get his parents out here. Surely there’s someone out there that can help.’
Ellis Healing was out with his teammate on the night of the attack and was speaking to him on the phone moments before he was knocked to the ground.
‘All his friends have been sending voice notes to his girlfriend and his parents and they’ve been playing them to him in the ICU,’ he told ABC Radio Perth.
‘Apparently it’s been having a bit of an impact on him.
‘His fingers have been moving when he’s been listening to the voice notes from his friends, so that’s a little bit of positive news we’ve been having over the past couple of days.’
The British expat (pictured) moved to Australia seven years ago to progress his football career
The 15-year-old boy charged in connection with the attack was arrested on Tuesday and later charged with grievous bodily harm.
‘It will be alleged around 1.55am, the victim [man in his 20s] was walking near the Perth Train Station, when he was approached by the accused,’ Western Australia Police said.
‘It will be alleged, without warning, the accused punched the victim in the head, causing the victim to fall backwards.’
‘The accused allegedly fled the scene without attempting to render assistance to the victim.’
The 15-year-old will appear in Perth Children’s Court on September 22.
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