Pape Souare inspires the Eagles on coming back to the Premier League
London met Souaré, flying from Paris, with tender September sun and warm weather. Pape did not notice the beauty as the storm was raging up in his soul. All thoughts of the Senegalese were revolving around his father, burning from a very aggressive form of cancer in a French clinic. Pape jumped into the Mercedes G63 worth €140 thousand and rushed home from the Heathrow. “A car from the contra-flow lane crashed into me. I did not have time to react and turned aside too late,”- the Souaré’s hair was curl. His life was saved by the airbag.
The hardest period of life
Crystal Palace left defender moved to the Premier League club from Lille in January 2015. He immediately booked a place in the first team. Fans appreciated the Senegalese speed and efficiency as he was running 11.7 kilometers for the match on average. The accident in the autumn of 2016 caught the African during the hardest period of his life. His father was always his main inspirer, and the doctors said that it was too late to treat. “When I visited my father in Paris, my sister called and said that my mother fell down at home in Senegal and broke her leg in two places. Then it seemed to me that it could not be worse,”- Pape suffered.
Souaré lost consciousness after the collision, and woke up from severe pain in his right leg. It was pinched by the door from the passenger seat’s side. The player’s eyes hurt so much, he could not open his mouth and called for help because the blow broke his jaw. Fortunately, a passing by man came to rescue him. He was talking with Pape, lying on the car wreckage, until the firemen and ambulance arrived. “This man called me by name, did everything for me so I could stay conscious. Shock usually comes in such a situation, and it was important for me not to jerk my foot. Everything was in the blood and shatters. It’s strange that I stayed conscious,” the African recalled.
The impact was so strong that the steering wheel was found in the back seat. The firemen quickly realized it was impossible to pull Souaré out of the trap through the door. They activated the autogenous welder and cut off the roof. There was a cycling marathon in London on that day, so the central streets were blocked. The victim was transported to the hospital by helicopter. London club’s management transferred an unnamed sum to the London air ambulance in gratitude for the operational work a week after the accident. If the surgeons had operated Pape an hour later, he would have lost his leg.
Long-lasting surgery and recovery
Souaré experienced a severe hip fracture. If the blow had fallen a couple of centimeters higher, then it would have broken his spine. The operation lasted four hours. Surgeons inserted a 20-centimeter pin through the left buttock to keep the leg in place. “I’m from Africa and always hoped only for fast legs, because I can’t do anything else except playing football. And then I was told I would have to finish with football most likely – Pape felt awfully. – My father was dying of cancer when I was in intensive care. Mother suffered at home. I was reassured only that God had a good reason to send us all this pain».
Support of teammates
Team-mates Scott Dann and Damien Delaney did not recognize Souaré when they visited the hospital: his face was so swollen. The defender ate through the tubule for almost a month because of a broken jaw. “He has a huge willpower,” said the Eagles former coach Alan Pardew. “Pape smiled even being battered and bandaged.” Crystal Palace fans hung a banner “Be strong” and organized an action. The spectators applauded in the 23rd minute at team’s home games during the whole year. Souaré plays for Londoners under this number.
Farewell to Souaré’s father
Pape still moved on crutches in December, but flew to Paris to say goodbye to his father. “He was very bad, he could hardly speak. And then I thought: “What is my trauma compared to such tortures? I promised myself to do everything to go back to the field, “the football player exhaled.
Souaré stood on an injured leg for the first time in January. Pape decided the most difficult task in the recovery. He forced the damaged gluteal muscles to work. “The pain did not go away for a second, increasing several times with the load. I could neither stand nor lie nor sleep properly,” groaned the African. Souaré was so focused on the recovery, that snapped on his wife periodically. She could not stand it and flew with the children to Senegal. Pape admits now he’s acted too selfishly, but he couldn’t do it in some other way. Not only a career, but also his life was on the chopping bloc.
Our hero spent the first training session with the team 11 months after the accident. As a matter of fact some players thought he was a trialist. Selhurst Park went mad when Pape came out as a substitute in the League Cup match against Huddersfield after a year and a week. He helped the team to defend the victory (1:0) then. The Senegalese still plays through the pain, but he has learned not to notice it. The father and family could be definitely proud of him.
Tough period for Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace changed two main coaches during the treatment of the African. And the team crashed to the last Premier League place. The Eagles neither got a single point, nor scored in the starting seven rounds. They just remind Souaré right after the accident. The Londoners will need a huge willpower and a miracle to come back. The Hodgson squad should only look at Pape and recharge with inspiration.