Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been fired to return to Naples on Monday after spending the night under surveillance at a hospital in Bergamo following an alarming collapse near the end of a 4-2 Serie A defeat to Atalanta on Sunday.
Osimhen was unconscious in a horrific incident during the final minutes of the game after a challenge with Cristiano Romero; he was dragged off the field and transferred directly to the hospital.
A close adviser to the players told ESPN that the disoriented Osimhen was shocked when he saw the video of the incident.
“He couldn’t believe it when they showed him a video from the incident,” the counselor said.
“He said it felt like a brain reset.”
Several reports say the Nigerian regained consciousness on the way to the hospital, but a source told ESPN that Osimhen had been outside a little longer.
“He said he lost consciousness for about 30 minutes,” the counselor said. “It wasn’t until they got to the hospital that he actually realized what was going on around him and then they showed him the video.”
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Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr told ESPN that he is worried about his star striker but happy to see him on his feet.
“I watched and I was that, of course, I was worried,” Rohr said.
“But I’ve talked to him and now I’m relieved when he’s okay and he’s ready to play again if the doctors say it’s okay.”
Rohr and an adviser close to Osimhen said the player had confirmed to them that he had been allowed to play for Napoli in the club’s next match, in the UEFA Europa League against Granada on Thursday at home.
Rohr will nominate his team for the final round of qualifications for the 2021 African Cup of Nations coming next month, and apart from Oshemen he is expected to be on the team.
The German told ESPN that the attacker was still not full of gas after he recovered from a shoulder injury he earned during qualifying in Nigeria in November and then contracted COVID-19 while on holiday in Nigeria.
“We’re happy that Osimhen is back,” Rohr said. “He told me he was 70-80% of his physical fitness.
“He hasn’t started a game in a long time since our last game in November. His injury was a shock to everyone on the team. So it was hard in the winter for him and also COVID, but now on the right track You’re happy about that.”
Osimhen is the second Nigerian player in Europe to collapse after a challenge with an opposition player.
Last year, while playing for Mainz 05, striker Taiwo Awoniyi also fainted after a collision with Felix Udoakhai of FC Augsburg.
Like Osimhen, Awoniyi was carried and driven straight to the hospital. Awoniyi told ESPN he did not remember the incident between the field and the hospital at the time.
“It was a terrifying experience for me and I thank God for everything,” Awoniyi said.
“I didn’t watch the game to see what happened to Osimhen, but I read about it later in the news and I’m praying for him and I hope he’s fine and he recovers soon.”