Liverpool greats Jason McAteer and Ian Rush have revealed that time spent with the family of Sean Cox has made them realise how much pain they have suffered since the vicious assault on the Irishman.
Mr Cox (53) suffered life-changing injuries in an unprovoked attack by Roma fans before Liverpool’s home Champions League semi-final tie last April.
Since the attack, family and friends of the father of three from Dunboyne, Co Meath, have been driving a series of fund-raising events to meet the massive costs attached to Mr Cox’s rehabilitation.
As part of this effort, a Liverpool Legends team will take on a Republic of Ireland XI, managed by senior team boss Mick McCarthy, at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, April 12, with funds going to the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust.
McAteer said that he, along with compatriots and ex-Reds Robbie Keane and John Aldridge, will play for both teams in the game while the Anfield club’s all-time top scorer Ian Rush is, for now, player/manager of the Liverpool XI.
Both men have spent time with the Cox family, including wife Martina and the couple’s three children, and they appreciate how tough it has been for the family.
“What happened to Sean, he went to a football game, you always expect to come back safely and he didn’t. We can’t forget about him, it’s all about the rehabilitation and that’s why we are here,” Rush said in Dublin yesterday.
“I have met the family a few times and they are incredible. The courage they have shown is something special.”
McAteer added: “To have to deal with this kind of thing is frightening. He’s only gone to a football match and sadly he’s found himself in this situation and the impact it’s had on the family is phenomenal.
“Like Martina said, you’ve got to stand up, get on with it and do the best you can.
“Being Irish, I’ve followed the story closely and I was over for the Napoli game and sat down with the family. You read the stuff in the newspapers but you don’t really know the true impact until you speak to them personally and see how it’s changed their lives.
“So when the club came to us and said this is what we’re thinking of doing, I for one put my hand up and all the lads followed suit.”
Martina Cox said her husband was doing well, but needed assistance.
“Sean has made encouraging progress in the last few months, he can talk a little and has some movement, we don’t know if he will walk again but we are giving him as much encouragement as possible,” she said.
Tickets for the game at the Aviva Stadium on April 12 go on sale via Ticketmaster on Thursday; €20 for adults, €10 for U16s and €70 for families.
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