Books will be signed by Mark
IT IS A SHOCK when any teenager is stricken by a life-threatening heart condition – even more so when it’s a professional sportsman with the world at his feet.
Mark O’Brien had become one of Derby County’s youngest ever footballers at the age of 16 when his life was turned upside down. Facing heart surgery, the young Irishman’s career was severely threatened, yet he was one of the lucky ones. With no symptoms, his problem was discovered following a routine health check.
Although his clock was already ticking towards inevitable further surgery, Mark defied a bleak prognosis to enjoy a successful career, notably with Nigel Clough’s Derby County and later Newport County. Mark wrote himself into Newport folklore with a last gasp goal to save his side from relegation from the Football League, and captained the side during their fantastic FA Cup run, before that clock finally ran down on his career as the world battled Covid. Yet Mark’s story has become even more inspirational.
Now looking at the world through different eyes, he explains how he is defeating the demons of depression and anxiety to rebuild his life. Today he combines working in a pastoral role at Newport with media work and public speaking. Mark’s story is for supporters of life as well as football. His hope is that young people will take heart and hope from his compelling words.