Reuben Nsemoh, 16, was kicked in the head while playing goalie for his traveling soccer team last month. As a result, the teen suffered a grave concussion, which was the third he’s had in his life.
His coach, Bruno Kalonji, said in a radio interview that the injury was one of the worst concussions he had ever seen in one of his players.
“The ambulance came and they said he was having seizures because he might have bleeding in his brain,” Kalonji reportedly said.
Reuben was in a coma for three days after the incident. When he finally came to, he was suddenly fluent in Spanish but couldn’t remember any English.
“My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” Reuben said.
Although he wasn’t a proficient Spanish speaker before the concussion, he thinks his subconscious somehow remembered the language while he was comatose.
“I wasn’t perfect, but my brother is a really fluent Spanish speaker. So he kind of inspired me with that too,” he reportedly said.
Reuben has since regained memory of his first language, English, but he continues to speak Spanish occasionally. Despite enduring such a traumatic experience, Reuben plans to get back on the field and return to soccer after he’s fully recovered.
“It’s my passion. It’s the one thing I want to do for my career,” he said of the sport.
Reuben’s coach, however, says he will not be returning to play for his team without a helmet. “This can happen even at practice. And if kids already have two concussions or three, it’s recommended that they wear one,” Kalonji said.
Goalies, in particular, should be required to wear helmets regardless of whether or not they’ve ever had a concussion. It’s much better to be proactive rather than reactive.
Nevertheless, Reuben is lucky to be alive and he actually gained something valuable from being in a coma, which isn’t something many people who have experienced the condition can say.
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