Christmas this year for the family of Mark Scott will involve a quiet hospital gathering and prayers for a miracle.It is just over six months since the talented Tarrawanna triathlete was involved in a road accident at Primbee, hit by a car during an early-morning cycling ride.Today he remains in a coma in Liverpool Hospital's Brain Injury Unit, without any means of life support.He is constantly surrounded by family members including his wife Lauren, 17-month-old son Oscar, sister Anna and parents Bob and Sue. Christmas Day will be no different.Bob said the family had read a great deal of literature in their efforts to understand the silent world of a coma patient."We've done massive amounts of research - we will try anything for Mark," he said."There are waking and sleeping phases so we, at all times, treat him as though he might have a level of consciousness there."Bob said that while his son was not on life support, he still required full medical assistance."The hospital staff are very good," he said."Although Mark is asleep, he undergoes therapy, to put him in the best possible condition for recovery when he wakes - the recovery we are hoping for when he wakes."Bob, who was cycling with his son at the time of the accident, said a battery of tests continue to monitor his condition and the extent of his injury."They're continually doing whatever they can as far as treatment goes. He's in the best place for the type of treatment he can receive at this stage."It's actually a very inspirational unit to be in. There are quite a few young people and they're all in various stages of recovery, which is very motivational."A trained physical education teacher and manager of University of Wollongong Aquatic Centre, Mark had competed in at least four Australian ironman triathlete competitions - a gruelling event with a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42km run, before his accident.He also managed Scott Endurance, coaching others in the sport.Bob said the family had been heartened by the ongoing community support, particularly through the Move for Mark fundraising initiatives.This included a fun run and family day held a week before his 29th birthday, which was on November 21, and which attracted more than 3000 participants."The support has been absolutely amazing. We're just so grateful. We couldn't even start to mention names," Bob said."Mark is just a very quiet, gentle achiever and he'd be quite overwhelmed."We're keeping our fingers crossed for a Christmas miracle, but then we're always hoping. We remain positive and we remain hopeful. We will never give up on him."
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