Society

Teen Goalie Wakes Up From Coma Speaking Spanish

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A Georgia teen awoke from a coma after suffering a concussion and could only speak Spanish -- a language he had never spoken fluently before.

During a September soccer game, goalie Reuben Nsemoh dived for the ball and another player kicked him in the head, WSB-TV reports. The collision caused him to go into shock and suffer his third concussion.

“I was in shock and panic, then he'd come back and he'd start throwing up,” Bruno Kalonji, Nsemoh’s coach on the elite Gwinnet County-based national soccer team, said. "It was a sequence of things I'd never seen before. You thought you'd might lose him. I thought I might lose him there."

For several days following the concussion, Nsemoh was in a coma. When he woke up, he could only speak Spanish, even though he had never spoken it fluently before.

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Nsemoh is still recovering, and is unable to attend school. The amount of damage the injury did is unknown, according to his family.

“Sometimes I daze out,” Nsemoh said. "Sometimes I feel like I’m not there, but I am."

He spends his time now at home, twirling a soccer ball and watching games on TV.

Nsemoh hopes to play soccer again and dreams of playing professionally.

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Kalonji wants to see goalies wearing helmets when teams return to the field.

“Why not start using it in practice and in the games so, what happened is everybody is waiting for that big thing before they start wearing the mask," he said. "We should try to prevent these things from happening earlier."

Soccer team manager Kiran Narker created a GoFundMe page to help Nsemoh’s family pay for his medical bills, which have topped $200,000.

“A gifted athlete and fearless on the ball, Reuben was doing a stellar job in goal until an unfortunate collision with another player during an SRPL game caused him to go into shock with a severe concussion…" Narker wrote on the GoFundMe page. "...He was recently released from hospital and is currently recuperating at home under his parents' care. Unfortunately, Reuben's seizures have not stopped. Neither have the family's medical bills."

He also notes that Nsemoh is missed by his team.

“I cannot name a single instance where Reuben did not offer to help, or volunteer to do something for the team,” Narker wrote. “We miss his presence in our midst, and therefore I urge you to donate generously so that we can first and foremost help Reuben on the road to recovery, help his family pay off their mounting medical bills, and in time, help him return to the soccer field.”

To date, nearly $11,000 has been raised of the $25,000 goal.

Sources: WSB-TV, GoFundMe / Photo credit: WSB-TV

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