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5 players who returned to action after a serious head injury

Raul Jiminez returned to action after eight months following a horrific head injury sustained in November.
Raul Jiminez returned to action after eight months following a horrific head injury sustained in November.

Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez has returned to action after suffering a horrific head injury in November. He featured in a 1-0 pre-season friendly defeat against third-tier Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

In a league fixture against Arsenal in November last year, the Mexican forward collided with opposition defender David Luiz, leaving him immediately unconscious. Medical staff rushed to Jimenez's aid, and he was stretchered off.

It was later revealed that Raul Jiminez had regained consciousness in hospital and underwent surgery to treat his fractured skull, keeping him out for almost eight months. The 30-year-old subsequently wore a protective headgear on his return.

Improved medical procedures for head injury

Head injuries are taken very seriously in the modern era, and there are strict protocols to be followed if a player suffers one. There are medical procedures in place that are carried out after a player sustains a head injury before he is allowed to continue playing.

But despite the seriousness around head injuries and growing awareness towards their avoidance, players are unfortunately still susceptible to them. Some players are forced to retire, while others are fortunate enough to be able to make a comeback.

On that note, here we take a look at five such players who returned to action after sustaining scary head injuries:


#5 Nemanja Vidic vs Arsenal (2013)

Nemanja Vidic suffered a head injury against Arsenal and did not return for the second half.
Nemanja Vidic suffered a head injury against Arsenal and did not return for the second half.

Former Manchester United and Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic was one of the strongest and bravest players around. However, on 10th November 2013, in a Premier League game against Arsenal, the centre-back collided with his own goalkeeper David De Gea and suffered a serious head injury.

He was seen spitting blood on the pitch and did not look comfortable at all. Showing clear signs of concussion, the defender did not return for the second half of the game and was immediately hospitalised for further assessment. The incident completely overshadowed United's victory over their arch-rivals.

Nemanja Vidic showed no signs of after-effects, though, and was subsequently rested during the international break before returning to captain his team against Cardiff City on 24th November 2013.


#4 Ederson vs Liverpool (2017)

Ederson was caught in the head by Sadio Mane's high boot.
Ederson was caught in the head by Sadio Mane's high boot.

On 9th September 2017, in a fiery clash between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, Ederson suffered a horrific head injury after Liverpool's Sadio Mane caught him with studs to the face, leaving the Brazilian in a bloody mess.

Ederson was immediately stretchered off, and Mane was shown a straight red card for his challenge. Luckily, the Brazilian did not have any concussion effects but had to get eight stitches to his face following the tackle. He was able to return immediately to action the next week against Watford while wearing protective headgear.

Ederson has been vocal about the implementation of compulsory substitutions in cases of a head injury and/or concussions following Raul Jimenez's collision with David Luiz. Jimenez controversially still played on despite blood from his resulting wound seeping through a bandage.

#3 David Ospina vs Udinese (2019)

David Ospina taken off on a stretcher after collapsing on the pitch.
David Ospina taken off on a stretcher after collapsing on the pitch.

During a Serie A match between Napoli and Udinese on 17th March 2019, Napoli's goalkeeper David Ospina was involved in a heavy collision with Udinese striker Ignacio Pussetto while challenging for a low-cross in the seventh minute of the game.

After being treated by the medical staff, Ospina was able to continue playing with bandaging around his head. But later in the first half, he collapsed and was stretchered off in the 44th minute. The keeper was reported to have lost consciousness for a few minutes. He did regain consciousness and was immediately taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

The Colombian underwent a scan after cutting his head and spent the rest of the night under observation before getting an all-clear from the medical staff the next day. The incident once again raised many questions regarding concussion protocols in professional football and whether they are followed strictly.

Ospina was advised to rest for a few weeks before returning to action against Chievo Verona on April 14th.


#2 Fernando Torres vs Deportivo La Coruna (2017)

Fernando Torres suffered a horrific head injury after colliding with an opposition player.
Fernando Torres suffered a horrific head injury after colliding with an opposition player.

Fernando Torres was at the centre of a frightening scene during Atletico Madrid's 1-1 draw with Deportivo La Coruna in a La Liga match in 2017. He was knocked out cold following an aerial collision with an opposition defender.

Torres challenged for the ball in the air and subsequently landed face-first on the turf. His head took a huge blow in a sickening landing that saw him smash the ground with considerable force.

Players from both sides rushed to the striker's aid before Torres was eventually stretchered off the pitch, with a number of his teammates in tears.

Fortunately, Torres was conscious and speaking in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He underwent a CT scan, and there was seemingly no major lasting damage sustained by him.

Torres was kept under observation for 48 hours before returning to training a week after the collision.


#1 Petr Cech vs Reading FC (2006)

Petr Cech suffered a fractured skull in a league game against Reading FC.
Petr Cech suffered a fractured skull in a league game against Reading FC.

In one of the most frightening incidents of head injury, Chelsea's then goalkeeper Petr Cech suffered a broken skull in a league game against Reading in 2006. The goalkeeper dived to collect a loose ball, but Reading's Stephen Hunt ended up connecting his knee with Cech's head in an attempt to get the ball first.

Cech was soon stretchered off and underwent surgery for a skull fracture. Doctors reported that the incident nearly cost Cech his life.

After originally being told he would be out of football for at least a year, Petr Cech made a miraculous comeback to the Chelsea first team in just three months. The Czech stopper, though, wore a rugby-style head guard before he retired to protect areas of his skull weakened by the collision on that fateful day.

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Edited by Bhargav
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