It should have been a day to celebrate but turned into a nightmare for Mauricio Molina. The player who has been capped 13 times by Colombia now plays for South Korean outfit FC Seoul in the K League Classic was involved in a sickening clash of heads during a match on Sunday that almost cost him everything. With his family watching from the stands in horror, it was the quick actions of a teammate that saved Molina’s life. The game against Busan IPark started like any other with the home team on the attack. Molina, starting the game in his usual midfield role found himself in the opposition box as right back Jin-Kyu Kim swung a lofty cross into the area. Molina climbed to challenge for the ball but instead clashed with Busan goalkeeper Gi-Yong Kim and defender Hack-Yong Jang with the trio knocking heads, sending Molina to the deck with a thud.
Noticing something was wrong with their colleague, Molina’s teammate Dejan Damjanović rushed to his aid. After realizing that he had been knocked unconscious by the clash of heads, Dejan and teammate Jin-Kyu Kim moved the player into a recovery position as medical staff scrambled onto the pitch. It was then that Dejan noticed that Molina’s colour was off and recognized this as a sign of a blocked airway caused by Molina swallowing his tongue. He instinctively reached into the midfielder’s mouth and cleared the blockage effectively saving his life. In the stands, Molina’s wife stood motionless unsure of what was happening to her husband on the pitch below. Next to her, her son slowly began to realize that there was a problem with his father and began to cry. In harrowing scenes the mother and son stood alongside friends hoping to see any sign of movement from Mauricio. Surrounded by the medical staff from both teams, Molina eventually regained consciousness and managed to sit up, to everyone’s relief. After a short period, Molina was helped to his feet before walking off to applause from supporters on both sides.
After the match, fans took to social media to offer their support and prayers for the player. At home resting, Molina took to twitter to thank the fans for their words and spoke about what happened on the pitch. He credited his family for giving him the strength on the pitch to wake up and spoke of his love for his wife and children who went through so much emotion watching him suffer on the field.
“This was the power that woke me up yesterday, the strength of my family. My wife @almarla that under the desperate try to aid me and my two sons field # Alejo and # Mares suffering in the gallery. The most powerful force sent from heaven. I love them!”
Molina will spend the next few weeks under observation by medical staff connected to the club in the hope that he will be well enough to start playing again soon. Molina is looking forward to getting back onto the pitch as soon as possible so that he can properly thank his teammates in the best way he knows how for saving his life.