Horrific injury | 

Jack Woolley had to get lip 'reconstructed' after brutal street beating in Dublin

"I can't go back in time so there’s no point in moping around so I’m just getting on with things as they are"

Jack moments after the sickening attack

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Irish Olympian Jack Woolley revealed his top lip "came completely off" after a brutal street beating that left him in hospital.

The Taekwondo star was badly injured after he was punched while out in Dublin city centre on Friday night.

He later required surgery at St James’s Hospital where he had to get his lip “reconstructed back on."

“I had to get it washed out and cleaned out because the way it was cut was straight through,” he told Morning Ireland. “There's a hole in my face and my top lip had completely come off. I needed to get stitches in the front and back to just get it back on. Now I've just got a plaster on.”

Jack said he could have been “a lot worse” as he feels he got off lightly “compared to other people."

He says he's now "taking every day as it comes."

Jack Woolley after his facial surgery

“I’m doing the best I can and recovering after surgery,” he added. “Basically I was just walking after a meal and a few drinks with friends who I hadn’t seen since I got back from Tokyo.

“We had decided to go out and I was just walking down the street in Dublin next to the Liffey and I turned around 'cause I heard a bit of noise.

“By the time I turned back around to look where I was going there were a few people on the road. One of them just turned and hit me, apologised, and said, ‘oh sorry, wrong person’, and continued on their way then to unfortunately assault other people on the road.

Jack was randomly attacked

“A lot of people are asking questions why (I) didn't defend myself but it was literally just one punch,” he explained. “A ring connected with my front teeth and bust my lip open. At the time the best thing to do was just get safe and find somewhere that I could safely call an ambulance and get seen to, so that's what I did.

“It's a shame because I'm a bit embarrassed over it,” he admitted, “but it could have been a lot worse if I had retaliated. God knows what would have happened because I know there was a lot more people in worse states (caused) by the same group of people.

“I was the first one I recall being attacked but I was the last one put in an ambulance so that’s how bad the other injuries must have been. I'm just very grateful that I didn't come out a lot worse.”

Jack revealed that he has to return to hospital on Friday to get the stitches removed.

“I'll find out more then,” he said. “I'm just taking every day as it comes. But it’s getting better, like the swelling is going down.

“At the time it wasn't sore at all. There was a lot of adrenaline going on so I think it wasn't until after surgery and the anaesthetic that it started to be a little bit more tender, a little bit more painful.

“I'm just trying to take my painkillers and the medication I've been prescribed. I’m trying to take the positives out of everything. I can't go back in time so there’s no point in moping around so I’m just getting on with things as they are.”

It was the first time Jack had been out in Dublin since returning from the Olympics so the attack had been “a bit of a shock”.

“I know there's been a lot in the media about anti-social behaviour and gangs going around Dublin but I hadn't experienced this first hand so I wasn't too worried going around the city I had grown up in.

“It just goes to show that it can happen to anybody at any time and it’s just an unfortunate time that we're living in.

"With the coronavirus and restrictions everybody is out on the streets and that’s where we have to be unless you’re vaccinated so I think there's a lot of people at risk (from) these gangs going around.

“But I'm not going to say I'm necessarily scared of going out in Dublin. I feel like it was a (one) off thing that has happened. It was a random attack and it's not going be happening too often to the same person, I hope. So, I'm not going to be saying I'm scared to go into town or anything.

"But until I heal, I don't want to get too much attention from this especially with my lip, so I'm just going to stick around where I am at the moment.

"It's not affecting me too much mentally just a little bit of scarring physically so I'm just trying to get on with it as best I can, go back to the normal and go back to training as quick as possible."

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