During an intense soccer game in Georgia, a goalie for an elite Gwinnett County team suffered from a nearly fatal concussion
Reuben Nsemoh, 16, was diving for a loose ball when another player kicked him in the head. Reuben’s coach, Bruno Kalonj, said it was the worst head injury he’d ever seen of his players.
“I was in shock and panic, then he'd come back and he'd start throwing up,” Kalonji said of Reuben, who stopped breathing several times after the collision. “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.”
After Reuben was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center, he remained in a coma for three days. For those days, Reuben’s friends and family members feared the Brookwood High sophomore would lose his life.
However, Reuben did eventually wake up, and when he did, he only spoke in Spanish — a language he’d never spoken fluently before.
Reuben believes this happened because his friends frequently spoke to him in Spanish. Eventually his ability to speak English returned and his fluency in the new language faded out. However, he does want to continue to speak conversationally with his friends.
After being discharged from the hospital, Reuben took a break from the sport to recover at home.
“Sometimes I daze out. Sometimes I feel like I’m not there, but I am,” he told WSB-TV.
After making a full recovery, Reuben hopes to rejoin his teammates on the soccer field. However, his coach thinks that he — and every other goalie — should wear a helmet when that day comes.
“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. We should try to prevent these things from happening earlier,” Kalonji said.
Additionally, Reuben’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help offset his medical expenses, which have topped $200,000.