TOM Freshwater arrived at the Fraser Coast to spend time with family and friends.
He returned to Brisbane with severe facial fractures, a fracture to the back of his skull, bleeding on the brain, a swollen eye, and in a very serious but stable condition.
Mr Freshwater, 23, was the victim of an alleged coward punch early Saturday morning.
He stepped in to break up a scuffle on Charlton Esplanade, Torquay, about 1.10am.
Police will allege a 19-year-old Tinana man, who was not involved in the melee, struck Mr Freshwater in the head.
The now St Lucia-based man lost consciousness and fell to the ground, which caused significant head injuries.
He was immediately rushed to Hervey Bay Hospital, then airlifted to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Saturday afternoon.
His family are begging for answers.
Mr Freshwater's parents Helen and Shane received a phone call from police about the incident about 3am.
They say it's not a call any parent should ever receive, and questioned why society's first instinct to resolve a situation is through violence.
The talented sportsman, a left-arm seamer for Hervey Bay's Bushrangers and Cavaliers, Sunshine Coast Scorchers, Scottish club Carlton, and utility back for Hervey Bay Seagulls, "wouldn't even know how to throw a punch" according to his friend Chris Wicks.
"He's just a good bloke who would do anything to help any of his friends," Mr Wicks told the Chronicle.
Mr Freshwater has shown signs of improvement, but he will carry the scars for at least his short-term future.
His alleged attacker has been held in custody since the incident and is due to face Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Monday. The 19-year-old Tinana man, who police said was not known to the victim, is charged with one count of grievous bodily harm.
For Detective Sergeant Mick Polit was frustrated the Crime Investigation's Branch's was investigating yet another coward punch despite the high media exposure that surrounded "one punch can kill" campaign.
"It's not a regular occurrence, but it's frustrating these things are still happening," Det Sgt Polit said.
Det Sgt Polit called for any witnesses to share their information with Hervey Bay Police.
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