A YOUNG Limerick boy who is reclaiming his life after suffering a stroke will undergo surgery in a Sheffield hospital today in the hope that he can play sport again.
Oisin Blake Ryan, 7, suffered a stroke last year and has recovered 87% of movement in his body after weeks of rehabilitation and therapy.
Today in the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield he will undergo stereotactic radio surgery, a highly precise form of radiation therapy developed to treat functional abnormalities of the brain. The radiation is intended to treat an AVM in his brain, or abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain, which led him to suffer a stroke last year.
His mum Cathy said Oisin will be asleep during the operation when 200 beams of radiation are blasted for an hour at the target area. However, they will have to wait two years to determine if the procedure has delivered the intended results. “The goal is that after two years he’ll have an angiogram done and please God they’ll say it’s been cut off from the rest of the brain,” explained his mum.
She said her son, a sports fanatic, is keen to get back playing rugby, hurling and football with clubs in the city, but needs to receive the medical all-clear before he is allowed to play.
After scoring a goal with his soccer team Caherdavin Celtic in Limerick last February 25, in what was his first “official match”, Oisin later collapsed with a severe pain in his head. He was unconscious for five days, and his mum was told that there was a “very high chance” that he may not survive.
“Nobody ever knew he had an AVM. It’s like a ball of twisted veins and arteries, and on that night they burst.”
Oisin was rushed from the Mid-Western Regional hospital to Temple Street in Dublin, where he underwent surgery to remove part of his skull. “There was literally nothing between the brain and the skull, it was totally exposed and he had to wear a helmet for a while for protection.”
A plastic surgeon in the hospital didn’t want to put a titanium plate in his head because he’s so young, and instead took part of his skull from one side, and split it, dividing pieces of the bone on both sides of his head.
“Now is hair is growing back and you’d never in a million years think he had all this reconstruction,” she said.
“After this treatment we’ve been told nothing may happen, we just have to take it and wait two years. There’s a possibility the left side of his body will be affected again and he may never get that other 13% back.”
“He’s amazing. He has defied logic. Doctors are amazed after reading his file, expecting a totally different situation coming in the door. You can’t keep a good thing down. He’s mad to get back to playing sport again. We have to wait for the thumbs up - he will be nine by the time that happens, and we’ll be waiting with bated breath.”
A fundraising night in Na Piarsaigh GAA club, where all the different clubs he’s involved in came together, raised €6,000 for his medical costs.
The mum of three said Oisin, a pupil at the JFK school, doesn’t remember anything that happened the day he had a stroke, and when we woke up in hospital days later, the first things he asked were, could he have some pizza and when could he see his school friend Patrick again.