Cork toddler diagnosed with devastating brain injury after hit and run

A two-year-old boy who was knocked down in a hit and run in Mahon on the south side of Cork city has been diagnosed with a diffuse axonal injury (DAI) to the brain.

Zac Higgins is currently being treated at Temple Street Hospital in Dublin for the brain injury which occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma.

His parents Paul and Aishling have issued a statement thanking neighbours, friends and family and the wider community for their assistance.

"We would like to start by thanking everyone from all over the country for their continued support last week. Our baby boy Zac was diagnosed with a DAI brain injury, to say we are devastated is an understatement."

The young couple say they don't know what the future holds for little Zac.

But we do know we will be by his side every step of the way. It's going to be a very long road to recovery but we have faith in God and want everyone to continue to pray for a miracle.

Meanwhile, Olympic medal-winning race walker Rob Heffernan has urged the public to dig deep as fundraising continues for the family.

"Please lend your support to little Zac who was involved in a terrible hit and run. He’s a beautiful little boy.

"It is a horrific situation to be in and anybody who has kids will feel this gut-wrenching feeling. Every little bit of support will help to support the family."

A fundraising appeal which was launched for Zac has raised over €28,000 of the €50,000 goal.

Zac incurred serious injuries after being knocked down when he ran on to the road while playing with a ball at Castle Meadows, in Mahon, Cork city, on March 25. He was hit by a blue Mazda 6 which left the scene.

The appeal was launched last week at Ringmahon Rangers in Mahon where Paul is a treasurer.

Representatives of the club say that the father of three has been active onsite since he was a child himself. He dedicates huge amounts of time to coaching four to six-year-olds in the area.

Cllr Chris O'Leary says Boston Scientific employee Paul and his wife Aishling "do extraordinary things in the community."

"I have seen Paul giving to the community and involved in the community over the years. Soccer is his first love but he is involved in other things as well."

The couple's two other children Max (7) and Belle (4) are staying with family members.

Last week Aishling, told the Neil Prendeville show on Cork's Red FM that she thought he was dead on the ground because he was like a "little ball".

I started screaming 'he’s dead'. I thought he was dead. I just froze with the shock. There was an eerie silence.

Meanwhile, gardai are to forward a file to the DPP after releasing without charge a 17-year-old man arrested for questioning about the hit and run.

They have also spoken to two of the three passengers they believe were in the car at the time.

Donations can be made to the Go Fund Me Page here.

Payments can also be made through any bank using the following details. IBAN: IE48MICI99222419052804. BIC-MICIIE21.

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