World Cup: Peru player temporarily paralyzed after collision causes 'traumatic brain injury'

Jefferson Farfan has seen the last of his World Cup action after sustaining a frightening head injury that sent him to the hospital and caused him to temporarily lose the feeling in his extremities. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Peru forward Jefferson Farfan will not be able to play in his team’s final World Cup match against Australia due to a terrifying head injury he sustained during practice.

According to USA Today, Farfan collided with one of his teammates, a goalkeeper, during practice on Saturday. He was apparently knocked unconscious and stayed that way for several minutes before coming to. When he did, he temporarily wasn’t able to feel his extremities.

“When I saw him I thought the worst,” Peru defender Anderson Santamaria told reporters. “We were very shocked by what happened with Jefferson because he could not move his arms or legs, he had white eyes. It scared us a lot.”

Farfan, 33, was rushed to the emergency room, and did get feeling back in his arms and legs. The Peruvian Football Federation said that Farfan experienced a “traumatic brain injury,” and under FIFA’s concussion protocol he was required to stay in the hospital for observation for 72 hours. Peru’s coach, Ricardo Gareca, understands that Farfan’s wellbeing needs to come first.

“It was a scare, but he is doing well. The most important thing is he is recovering. […] He could be released from hospital but we understand the healthcare of the players is priority.”

Farfan posted to Instagram on Sunday night, thanking everyone who had sent supportive messages. He also said that even though he was “dying to be with his teammates,” he knew that his recent injury made that impossible.

Peru has been eliminated from the World Cup, but will play a final match against Australia on Tuesday. Australia needs to beat Peru in order to even have a chance to make it to the round of 16, and with Farfan out of the lineup, Australia may have a better chance of doing that. As Peru striker Paolo Guerrero told BBC Sport, Farfan is vital to their team.

“He is a great loss for us. We hope to have him back very soon because he is the spark of this team so we hope for a prompt recovery.”


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