Great Britain

Cristiano Ronaldo offers support to Perth-based football player in coma

Manchester United stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Dean Henderson have offered support to a Perth-based football player who was critically injured in an alleged unprovoked attack.

English striker Danny Hodgson, who plays for ECU Joondalup in the National Premier Leagues Western Australia, turned 26 on Sunday.

He spent his birthday in ICU at Royal Perth Hospital while his parents, Nicola and Peter Hodgson, were in hotel quarantine after flying from the UK to WA to be by his side.

Hodgson had been celebrating the end of the local football season with his teammates on 4 September when he was allegedly struck from behind while walking into a Perth train station.

He was rushed in a critical condition to Royal Perth Hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery. When his condition worsened he was placed in an induced coma. He is now in a critical but stable condition.

Hodgson’s story has sparked an outpouring of support from the football community in Australia and the UK.

It has been brought to the attention of some of the world game’s biggest stars by Hodgson’s former Carlisle United teammate and current Manchester United goalkeeper Henderson.

Portugal legend Ronaldo, who has returned to Manchester United this season after successful spells with fellow European giants Real Madrid and Juventus, sent a message of encouragement to Hodgson on his birthday.

“Hi Danny, I just hear about your history, I hope you get well soon,” Ronaldo said in a video. “I invite you to come to one of [our'] games in Manchester, so get well soon my friend. Take care.”

Henderson also offered support to his former teammate. “Stay strong, stay in there, you’ll get through this, I promise,” Henderson said. “I know how hard you are and you’ll be fine.

“I can’t wait to get you over to a [Manchester United] game and meet the boys. I’ve told them all about you and we’re all in your corner ... we just wish you all the very best.”

Hodgson has also received messages of support from English Premier League giants Manchester City, among other UK clubs. A-League side Perth Glory will take on ECU Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens in West Perth on Tuesday night in a fundraising match for Hodgson.

Hodgson’s parents said they have been overwhelmed with the amount of support they have received at a difficult time.

“It is challenging to remain positive in hotel quarantine when all we want to do is wrap our arms around Danny, but we appreciate the Western Australia government allowing us to fly to Perth and respect their Covid-19 restrictions,” Nicola Hodgson said.

“It means Danny is able to receive around the clock care from the wonderful Royal Perth Hospital ICU team, which may not be possible if the hospital system was overrun by critically ill Covid patients needing ventilation.”

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