Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Say He's Grateful He's 'Still Here' After Florida Attack

Rick Allen suffered a head injury after he was shoved to the ground outside a Florida hotel in March

Rick Allen
Rick Allen

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen is opening up about the shocking attack in March attack that left him with a head injury.

The British rocker, 59, appeared on Good Morning America Monday, and spoke in-depth for the first time about the incident, which took place on March 12 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"I heard a couple of steps and then I just saw this dark sort of flash, and the next thing I knew I was on the ground," he recalled. "I landed on my backside and then continued on, hit my head on the pavement."

Allen was allegedly shoved to the ground by a teenage tourist while smoking outside the Four Seasons Hotel on March 12, according to an arrest report obtained by PEOPLE at the time. The suspect, 19-year-old Max Hartley, allegedly approached Allen from behind a pole, ran "full speed" toward the rocker and struck him.

The musician said that during the incident, he reached his hand into the air, as he thought he "was going to get attacked again," and told the suspect, "I am no threat to you."

Related:Def Leppard's Rick Allen Says He's 'Recovering' After Florida Assault and Thanks Fans for 'Support'

"I don't think he knew who I was, but he must've seen that I wasn't a threat because, you know, I've only got one arm," said Allen, whose left arm was amputated in January 1985 after a car accident.

Allen's wife Lauren Monroe spoke to GMA too, and said that "my heart just completely sank into me" upon hearing of the attack. "Everything stopped in our house and focused on him," she said.

Because the rocker has dealt with setbacks before, he said he felt "absolutely, 100%" better prepared for the incident than he was following his car crash, and that he ultimately just felt thankful for all that he has.

"I immediately just went to that place of just feeling grateful for the fact that I have an amazing wife and an incredible family," he said. "I just started just thanking a higher power for the fact that I'm still here."

Lauren, meanwhile, said the couple was unable to answer the "how" or the "why" the attack happened to Allen, and were instead focused on the "right now."

Emma McIntyre/Getty Rick Allen
Emma McIntyre/Getty Rick Allen

Related:Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Suffers Head Injury in Attack Outside Florida Hotel

The drummer is set to kick off the European leg of his tour with Def Leppard on Monday night in Sheffield, England.

"I know that I'm not gonna be playing music in a band forever, but while I am, I plan on making as many people happy as I possibly can," he said. "This is my opportunity. If only we could view other things in that way. We're only here for a limited time."

Allen was in town with Def Leppard for a concert when the attack occurred, and issued a statement days later saying he was on the road to recovery.

"Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support. Your love and prayers are truly helping. My wife Lauren [Monroe] was thankfully not with me at the time of the incident. We are together now, and working on recovering in a safe space," he wrote at the time.

Noting that he and Monroe were focused on "healing for everyone involved," Allen's statement continued, "We ask you to join us in our effort to move from confusion and shock to compassion and empathy."

Hartley, who had been visiting Fort Lauderdale from Ohio, was charged with two counts of battery, four counts of criminal mischief and abusing an elderly or disabled adult, according to the report (he also allegedly attacked a woman who came outside to help Allen). He has since pleaded not guilty, according to GMA.

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