While Americans celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and barbeques, Brazilians were on the edge of their seats during their team’s World Cup match against Colombia. Though Brazil won the match 2-1, the team was faced with the tough loss of their star striker Neymar de Silva Santos Junior, more commonly known simply as Neymar, who was carried off the field on stretcher during the second half of the game.
Nearly 88 minutes into the game, Neymar was brought to the ground by a knee to the back from Colombian defender, Juan Zuniga. There are conflicting reports out of Brazil as to whether the hit was intentional, but one thing was for certain: Neymar was out of the match. As Neymar writhed in pain, he reportedly told teammate Marcello, “I can’t feel my legs.”
After undergoing x-rays at a local hospital, doctors determined that a vertebra in his lower back had been fractured but luckily there was no neurological damage that would cause a long-term injury. Fortunately, this mechanism of injury is not severe enough to cause a severe spinal fracture, and Neymar’s prognosis for a full recovery is excellent. However, the injury will keep him sidelined for the short term. In a YouTube video that already has over nine million views, the star assured his fans that his “dream is not over, just interrupted.”
As soccer grows in popularity in the US, many are beginning to understand the physicality of the sport. While over-the-top theatrics and faked injuries are a known part of the game, many Americans are just becoming familiar with the athleticism and endurance soccer requires. In fact, professional soccer players can run up to nine and a half miles per game. While common soccer injuries include strains, sprains, and painful side effects of overuse like shin splints, Brazil and Colombia’s match was considered especially physical with over 50 fouls called.
Although Germany defeated Brazil 7-1 in today’s semifinals, all of Brazil is looking forward to the return of their star, Neymar. I’ll be tracking the recovery of Neymar and sharing updates on my Facebook page.