Man United have given footballer Danny Hodgson, who suffers from a brain injury, some incredible memories during their pre-season tour of Australia.
United have been on a tour of the country over the past two weeks, recording victories over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.
The trip has helped Erik ten Hag to implement his ideals on the United squad, including a strict new discipline policy. Furthermore, United players appear to have reacted well so far, with a hint of optimism now around the Manchester club.
Man United surprise footballer Danny Hodgson
They have also found time to surprise diehard Red Devils fans in Australia.
One of those is 26-year-old Danny Hodgson. A Perth footballer, he was left with a catastrophic brain injury after being punched to the ground by a teenager last September.
Perth Children’s Court heard, as reported by BBC News, that a 17-year-old boy punched Hodgson without warning at a train station in the city, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground.
The 17-year-old was sentenced to three years and eight months in juvenile detention.
The attack left Hodgson with ‘life-changing injuries’. He spent 186 days in hospital, and said in April: “Every day is a challenge. The main thing now is to learn how to walk again, and I’m improving rapidly.
“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve just got to brace yourself, and just set your mind that you are going to get through it.”
Speaking to Australian radio station 6PR earlier this month about his recovery, Hodgson said he had lost all feeling on his left side due to brain damage caused by the attack.
He said: “It’s a very long recovery, and that’s if I do fully recover. I’m just taking every single day as it comes at the moment. The physios have set me the challenge of trying to walk as much as I can.
“The focus is on trying to get the brain to work again. Your brain’s a complex thing. Different parts of the brain do different things. The part of my brain that’s destroyed is the left side function.”
Perth outlet 9 News reports that Hodgson requires around-the-clock care.
This week, the Manchester United fan has been given the opportunity to watch the Old Trafford playing squad in action first-hand.
United players meet Danny Hodgson
The Daily Mirror report that Hodgson was invited to watch Erik ten Hag’s squad train at the WACA on Wednesday. The session was watched by 5,000 people. After the session, he was invited onto the pitch. Several players, including David de Gea and Harry Maguire, then went over to meet the 26-year-old and his girlfriend, Jess.
Furthermore, United contributed to a fundraiser held for Hodgson in the evening. It featured auctions for signed shirts from Cristiano Ronaldo and Juan Mata, with Red Devils legend Bryan Robson making an appearance. In addition, all proceeds raised from the fundraiser will go to Hodgson and his family.
The 26-year-old has previously revealed that he relies on kind donations from citizens in Western Australia: “Just before all this happened, we had bought a house and our savings went into that.
“I’ve got no income at the moment, and Jess can’t work that much as she’s my 24-hour support. She was also by my side for 196 days when I was in hospital. So we’ve had no income, and without the donations from the people of Western Australia, it would be a real struggle, so I’m very grateful to everyone.”
The footballer is from Whitehaven, Cumbria. He formerly played for Carlisle United’s youth team as a centre forward before moving to Australia. He featured in the same intake as future EFL professionals Kyle Dempsey and Brad Potts.
After the attack occurred last September, United stars Ronaldo and Dean Henderson sent their good wishes to Hodgson in hospital.
The 26-year-old was also a former team-mate of Henderson’s at youth level. The goalkeeper will spend this season on loan at Nottingham Forest.
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