Thursday, May 20, 2010

Andy Ganigan suffers permanent brain damage

Police arrested a 21-year-old Waianae man yesterday for allegedly assaulting former world lightweight boxing champion Andy Ganigan, 57, leaving him with permanent brain damage.

Ganigan and a friend had just left Last Stop Bar, near the Highway Inn in Waipahu, when he was assaulted near some stairs leading to Pizza Hut about 11 p.m. March 23.

The suspect had been drinking and does not recall what the fight was about, police said.

Ganigan was hospitalized in Honolulu, and was later transported with two medical escorts to a rehabilitation hospital in Las Vegas, where his eldest daughter and two of his five sons live.

The former boxer suffered severe brain damage and needs round-the-clock care for the rest of his life, Shue said. Ganigan can sometimes recognize people, but only sporadically, she said.

Ganigan, who became the North American Boxing Federation lightweight champion in 1978, was named World Athletic Association lightweight champion in 1981 when he knocked out Sean O'Grady. Ganigan, known as the Hawaiian Punch, is in the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame.

Shue said because Ganigan didn't have a regular job or medical insurance except through the state, he didn't qualify for any services. All local nursing homes denied the Medicaid patient a bed since older patients were given priority, and that's why he was taken to Las Vegas, Shue said.

The medical bills have exceeded the family's entire savings.

The family is holding a fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m. June 8 at Ige's Restaurant in Aiea. Presale tickets are $25 or at the door. Contact Michelle at 381-4000 for advance tickets.

***

He was the B.J. Penn of our generation in some ways -- including the most important criterion for us high school junior boys: He could beat up just about anyone else in the world.

But now Andy Ganigan is down for the count following a beating he suffered in a street fight, allegedly from a 21-year-old assailant. Doctors say the 57-year-old former champ may never recover and likely has permanent brain damage.

His family should be comfortable because of the winnings from his boxing career. Instead, its savings are drained paying for his medical care. Universal health insurance is too late for Ganigan, who has none.

I want to always remember the smiling and joking world champion Andy Ganigan. But right now it's hard to shake the image and sad reality of him losing the joys of his golden years in a street scuffle, 27 years after his last fight in the ring.

A fund-raiser to help with Andy Ganigan's medical expenses will be held at Ige's Restaurant in Aiea on June 8 from 4 to 9 p.m.

2 Comments:

At May 02, 2012 9:33 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

RIP Andy

 
At May 02, 2012 10:19 PM, Blogger 006cat said...

What happened to the guy who assaulted him? Don't tell me they couldn't pin anything on him? What injustice!

 

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