Sean Cox at 'a better point now' than 18 months ago

The wife of Sean Cox has said they are at 'a better point now' than 18 months ago. Mr Cox was att...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.14 27 Oct 2020

Share this article

Sean Cox at 'a better point now' than 18 months ago

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.14 27 Oct 2020

Share this article

The wife of Sean Cox has said they are at 'a better point now' than 18 months ago.

Mr Cox was attacked outside Anfield Stadium in Liverpool in April 2018.

The assault happened ahead of the team's Champions League semi-final against AS Roma.


A book written by his wife Martina, along with Newstalk presenter Susan Keogh, recalls how on April 24th 2018 life was changed irrevocably for the family.

Seán was left unable to walk or talk following the 17-second brutal attack.

Martina Cox told Pat Kenny she does not dwell on what could have been.

"It's about what myself and the kids and the whole family went through for the last two and a half years - it's real".

"Everything was going in the right direction and then this happens - it changes absolutely everything".

But she said there is no real point examining the 'what ifs'.

"There's no point, really, because the reality is it has happened and we have to deal with it, and there's no point in going back over it".

"It's here and we're just trying to process everything that has happened.

"We're at a better point now than we were 18 months ago, two and a half years ago, for sure".

Sean Cox The book 'With Hope in your Heart' is written by Martina Cox

She said the trip to Liverpool, that Sean took with his brother Martin, was unplanned.

"It was just one of those things, it wasn't on the agenda... they couldn't get tickets and this just happened at the last minute.

"Sean actually didn't even tell me until the flights were booked - because he was going in his eyes, I was never going to stop him.

"But that opportunity, it was a huge opportunity, so that was a really big one and they were delighted with themselves.

"But it was always going to be a very short trip because they were literally going over for the match, staying that night and coming back the next day because Martin's son was actually making his confirmation the next day".

On the assault, Martina says: "They were making their way down towards the match and a group of - I suppose I'd call them thugs - came along.

"There was three involved - one of them hit Sean with the buckle on a belt and then another guy basically boxed him in the head and Sean went down.

"I even find it really difficult to talk about now."

"Martin looked around for a second, there was obviously a lot of hostility going on in the area.

"I think Martin was ready to say to Sean 'We need to get out of here', but the 17 seconds of craziness had already happened and Sean was down.

"Before he even hit the ground he was unconscious with the knock that he'd got to the side of his head".

She said she initially thought "it's probably just like somebody hit him with a bottle on the head - something minor has happened - but obviously it came to light then when I got a phone call from a nurse in the Aaintree Hospital to say that Sean had a severe bleed on the brain and that he was going into surgery".

"It was just a real kind of waiting game for us".

"It was just so awful to see him like that, just lying there completely dependent on tubes...lifeless really, for nearly five weeks".

'Lack of resources in Irish healthcare'

She said getting him home to Ireland opened her eyes to the health system.

"We went from one on one - one nurse looking after Sean in the Walton Centre - to very quickly he went from ICU to high dependency.

"What really kind of struck me was the lack of resources in the Irish healthcare system and how this was going to impact on vulnerable people like Sean.

"The ratio of nurses to patients was very different to what I'd experienced".

"Every bit of care mattered as far as I was concerned for Sean, absolutely every bit".

"Obviously I had to fight for everything, that's you do when the chips are down".

On his rehabilitation, Martina said Sean had to wait "a long time" at Beaumont Hospital before going to the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

He was also involved in a different model of care with Steps Rehabilitation in Sheffield, England.

"It took a few visits before we found what we felt was the right place for Sean, the right environment, cause environment is huge in somebody's rehabilitation.

"And that kind of ticked all those boxes.

"The programme that was set out for Sean was bespoke to Sean, which was really really good.

"For example a simple thing like showering Sean at night rather than showering him in the morning made such a difference to him, cause it meant he wasn't tired starting his therapies for the day - that was just a huge thing".

Having Sean home

She said it is great to have him home with the family.

"It's absolutely great having Sean home - we're all adjusting to Sean being home living with a disability,  I suppose.

"But at the same time we're continuing on; we're a very normal family - we sit and eat dinner together, watch movies - we do all the normal things.

"Just because Sean is in a wheelchair, just because he can't have a full conversation, he can still join in on what's going on.

"And that in itself is just fantastic - we didn't know whether we'd ever get to that point and we have got to that point and it's great".

On living in lockdown, Martina said: "We were trying to get used to all of us being together as a family, because we hadn't been together for two years.

"Sean trying to get used to the house, just even the normal noises in the house - two crazy dogs barking, jumping on top of him - all that kind of stuff, but it's been great.

"I think that the actual lockdown time on our own has really kind of helped us all; we just got  a bit of time and space with Sean".

Sean Cox at 'a better point now' than 18 months ago

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


Main image: Sean and Martina Cox. Picture by: Gill Books

Share this article

Read more about

Anfield Stadium Liverpool Martina Cox Pat Kenny Sean Cox

Most Popular