GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – A Georgia teenager is struggling to recover from a severe concussion that almost killed him.
The incident was Rueben Nsemoh’s third concussion.
He told WSB-TV’s Tony Thomas that playing soccer is his passion. The Gwinnett County, Georiga teen hopes to do it professionally one day, but it also comes at a price.
His family is struggling as he’s unable to go to school, and it’s not known how much damage has really been done.
A collision late last month during a soccer game has turned Nsemoh’s life upside down. He was playing goalie for an elite Gwinnett County-based national team when he dived for the ball, and another player kicked him in the head.
Rueben’s coach, Bruno Kalonji, said the teenager stopped breathing several times.
“I was in shock and panic, then he’d come back and he’d start throwing up. 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,” Kalonji said.
Rueben was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center, where he spent several days in a coma.
“Our life has changed through this process,” Rueben’s mother, Dorah Nsemoh, told Thomas.
And when he did wake up, his parents say Rueben spoke only in Spanish at first, a language he’d never spoken fluently before.
For now, Rueben stays at home, twirling a ball and watching games on TV.
“Sometimes I daze out. Sometimes I feel like I’m not there, but I am,” Rueben Nsemoh said.
He hopes one day to be back on the pitch himself.
When he does return, his coach wants him and every other goalie to wear a helmet.
“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.
The family says the medical bills so far have topped $200,000. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money.