Header Ads

Salvador Cabañas - Lucky to be alive

As we sit at home watching the World Cup with a sense of excitement, one man is watching the tournament from Buenos Aires with an air of disappointment, but also happy merely to have the chance to watch. Salvador Cabañas was Paraguay’s top scorer in qualification for the tournament in South Africa and was expected to make a big impact on the tournament. However, that all changed in the early hours of January 25th.

In his own words, he is lucky to be alive. At around 5.30am on the 25th January, Cabañas went into the bathroom just before leaving ‘Bar Bar’, a popular nightclub in Mexico City. He was followed by two men, Jose Jorge Balderas and his bodyguard. Following a brief argument, Salvador Cabañas was shot in the head, the bullet lodging in the Occipital Lobe. He was found bleeding on the floor of the bathroom by his wife and brother-in-law.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent 7 hours of surgery to save his life. He still has the bullet fragment lodged in his skull, after the doctors ruled that it would be too risky to try and remove it. A long scar running across the side of his head remains as testament to his ordeal.

While he retains hope of playing football again, for the moment, he is simply happy to be alive. The statistics show that he is lucky – generally the type of injury that he suffered would result in instant death in 80% of cases. Indeed, of the 20% that survive, only 3% tend to have an acceptable level of recovery. So for him to recover to the point where he could restart his career would be virtually a miracle.

However, his doctors remain hopefully, claiming that his recovery thus far has been nothing short of a miracle. Indeed, there was even a faint hope that he may have been able to join the squad for South Africa. However, he was not able to, and was released from a Buenos Aires clinic in late May, where he had been recovering. He has been playing football at the clinic, but his motor skills still require further work. However, even this simple fact is impressive.

The incident brings back tragic memories of the murder of Colombian player, Andres Escobar back in 1994. Following an own goal against the USA, where he deflected a cross into his own net, Colombia were eliminated from the tournament. It was a disappointment for a side that were expected to challenge deep into the competition.

Less than two weeks later, Escobar was shot 12 times outside a Medellín bar. The killing was widely assumed to be a punishment for the goal, with rumours spreading that he was killed by a gambling syndicate who had lost a large sum of money due to Colombia’s failure to qualify for the second round.

Fortunately, Salvador Cabañas survived the shooting, and remains optimistic for the future. The 2007 South American Player of the Year spoke for the first time back in March, claiming ‘I still want to play, really, and I am happy to be alive and to have recovered. Football gives you a lot of things. Right now, I’d love to leave (the clinic); I’d go home, see my two kids and play with them for a while.” While he won’t be in South Africa, Paraguay will be, and their players will be playing for Cabañas.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - just came across your blog and wondered if you'd be interested writing for World Football Columns.....

    If so go to http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com and use the contact form - looking forward to hearing from you!


Powered by Blogger.