‘Massive day’ for man put in coma by alleged coward punch
A YOUNG man has today been able to leave the Gold Coast University Hospital two months after an alleged one-punch assault on the Gold Coast which left him in a coma.
Zac Longfield, from Forster in New South Wales, was celebrating his 21st birthday when he was allegedly punched in Broadbeach at 2.40am on Saturday November 30.
He had been waving off friends in a taxi with his girlfriend after birthday celebrations at his hotel when he was allegedly approached by a group of men and women.
Police will allege Mr Longfield was punched, causing him to fall and hit his head.
He was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition and put into an induced coma.
Two months later, Mr Longfield is able to return to NSW after waking up and learning how to walk, talk and eat again.
Close family friend April McKay, who started a Go Fund Me page that raised more than $31,000 for Mr Longfield, said it was a "massive day".
"Mixed emotions as we packed the car to head back to NSW," Ms McKay wrote.
"(Today) Zac is being flown to Newcastle and the funds raised are going to pay for his flight so thank you all very much.
"He will start the new part of his recovery in John Hunter (Hospital) before rehab.
"They also removed his last attachment just before we left (his feeding tube) because he can now swallow his nutrition drinks.
"Today is a massive day for us.
"How thankful we are for every single person who has crossed our path and helped us get to this point.
"Thank you to everyone at the Gold Coast (University) Hospital, the charity organisations that helped us with finding places to stay and cooked us meals, to the strangers that became friends."
Mr Longfield's heartbroken mother Tina Gogerly expressed the hope that less young people would end up in hospital like her son.
"I hope the more we talk about stories like Zac's we start a bigger and much-needed conversation about the way we discuss anger, ignite more by engaging with anger, the way we respond to situations and the way we have all let little things turn into much bigger issues unnecessarily," she posted on Facebook.
"I am truly heartbroken for the young lives lost this summer and if not lost the ones affected forever by momentary anger and the thoughtless reactions of violence.
"Tears and love for families living the nightmare and praying for big changes."
Two Sydney tourists, Palemi Ahloo, 19, and Sefulutolu Tago, 19, have both been charged and have since been granted bail.
Ahloo was charged with affray and grievous bodily harm, while Tago will face an affray charge.
Ahloo's case returns to court on February 25 and Tago's case on February 20.