Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi says he is grateful to be alive after a clash of heads caused him to black out and left him with a concussion during Mainz’s Bundesliga home game against FC Augsburg earlier this month.
The Nigerian, who has been on loan with Mainz since last August, clashed heads with Augsburg defender Felix Udoakhai 17 minutes into the encounter and lost consciousness before hitting the ground.
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In his first interview since the incident, the 22-year-old told ESPN that luck played a huge part in saving his life, according to his doctors.
“The doctor told me it’s really strange,” Awoniyi said. “They said the way I was coming down, I should [have gone] down with my head. If I had gone down directly with my head, it would have been a different story.
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“They said they were surprised because I was already [passed] out in the air but I was lucky that the first thing that happened was my feet hitting the ground, then my shoulder also, before my head.
“They said that made it less of a problem because if I had landed straight with my head it would have been a different story.”
Awoniyi said the period between going up for the ball and waking up in hospital was a black hole, despite apparently insisting he was fine, thus demonstrating the need for strict head injury protocols.
He added: “The doctor told me I was talking on the pitch but I didn’t know I was talking. He said when they tried to wake me up I was telling them I’m okay and I still wanted to play.
“But I didn’t know I was saying that. I don’t remember that.
“When we got to the hospital…