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padraig schaler

Joy as Pádraig says first word, 17 months after falling in a coma

Pádraig’s friends are trying to raise money for his family by launching a new album.

Amhrán do Phádraig / YouTube

PÁDRAIG SCHALER, THE young Irish student who went into a coma after an accident in June 2013, has been making steady progress in hospital.

His father, Reinhard Schaler, has written about how his son said the word ‘ja’ (German for ‘yes’) and also lifted his leg up in the German  hospital where he is based.

He also underwent an operation this week, and it is planned that he will move into an apartment with his family soon. It’s big news for the family who have kept a constant vigil at the popular student’s bedside for a year and a half.

Pádraig was badly injured when a 4.3 ton truck knocked him off his bike in Cape Cod last year. He was brought home to Ireland but his parents, Reinhard Schaler and Pat O’Byrne, were told their son needed intensive neurological rehabilitation.

His family were unhappy with the options in Ireland – they said they would have had to wait a year for the appropriate treatment for Pádraig and he would have had three months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

So they moved to Germany, where Reinhard is from, and have been there since.

Friends and fundraising

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Pádraig’s friends have been steadily fundraising for his family, and the latest initiative is one that they hope people around Ireland will get involved with.

A group of his friends have gathered to record a record called Dreamboat, and all proceeds will go the Schaler family.

“It’s been a great process – everyone is really excited,” said Maitiú Ó Casaide of folk band, The Bonny Men and a close friend of Pádraig, who organised the project.

The song Dreamboat was inspired by a dream Reinhard had, which he wrote about in his blog.

“It’s a really nice story. So that just came out then it floated like a dream, those words,” said Maitiú,

He performed it with his band, but thought it would make a great song to perform with Pádraig’s friends. “I just put the word out and it got a great response.”

During the summer, 50 of Padraig’s friends gathered together in Conradh na Gaeilge in Dublin and in several recording studios to record the song. They then decided that a full album was in order, and are hoping to raise thousands of euro for the family through album sales.

We basically gave everyone whoever played an instrument or who wanted to sing [a chance to take part]. It could have been a disaster. There could have been way too much of one thing – it was actually well-balanced.

The album also features two poems written by Pádraig’s friends for him, and there are songs in Irish and English.

A fundraising gig helped them pay for the recording.

This is another example of how dedicated Pádraig’s friends are to him and his recovery. They arranged a sponsored swim challenge, Snámh Pádraig, this summer, which raised €38,000 for the family.

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After the first song was recorded, Maitiú said that it became obvious that there was even more that could be done. ”It was clear there was so much talent in the group so I decided it would be a shame to leave it with one song; it would be nicer to make a full album.”

“Everyone is just wanting to do something and wanting to chip in in some way,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

He said the fundraising has brought everyone together. They’re all happy to give their time to Pádraig.

“You know he’d be doing exactly the same if any of his friends were in that situation. He was the main man in college. The life and soul. He was really active through swimming; with the Cumann Gaelach in Trinity; he was just at everything.”

He was just loving life and making the most of it, you know

Maitiú said the level of fundraising shows the amount of love people have for Pádraig.

At the launch on 3 December, they want to “get as many people there as possible and make a really nice night of it”.

The album will be launched on 3 December at the Grand Social in Dublin, and it can be bought online from

Read: “It’s agony”: Pádraig is in a coma – his family say Ireland’s healthcare system has failed him>

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