In his first interview with Televisa in Mexico, after the tragic gunshot wound to his head on Jan. 25, Salvador Cabanas of Club America and the Paraguayan national team maintained his belief that he would play again.
"Heaven can wait."
I will interpret a few of his responses.
Did you know that people were supporting you?
"Yes, they told me. The truth is, knowing this, was the most important thing."
A message of support from Club America.
What do you do at the clinic? Do you do exercises?
"I'm working on my rehabilitation. Yes, I do exercises."
Do you want to play again?
"Yes, I still want to play."
Have many visited you?
"Yes, many footballers have visited me. It was strange to receive such support from them and all the fans."
Opposing players saluted him.
Are you content?
"Yes, I'm very content. I am getting close to being fully recovered so that I can return to the pitch."
Are you ready to score goals again?
"I want to give joy to people. It's what I'm hoping for. It is what gives me hope. Especially with my father and family that came here to be with me."
Do you want to score goals at the Azteca Stadium?
"Yes, when I play the first game there, I'll do it again for the fans."
Do you want to send a greeting to the Paraguayan people who are watching tonight?
"A great greeting to all of Paraguay and the Paraguayan fans. I'll be back on the field soon. And to the Mexican fans, a great salute to all of you from me...
"Football gives you many things. This is why I have to return."
Those were the words of a true champion.
Salvador "Chava" Cabanas has a long journey back to professional football. But one senses that he will return to give joy to his fans. It will remind us that the most important battles occur off of the field of play.
The eagle is the symbol of Club America.
Update: April, 2, 2010
Salvador traveled to Argentina for further rehabilitation. According to Lisandro Olmos, the director of Fleni de Escobar treatment center:
“Il giocatore si dovrà sottoporre a un trattamento intensivo di 6-8 settimane per il recupero della memoria e delle funzioni cognitive", ha informato Lisandro Olmos. “Cabañas presenta un problema cognitivo. L'obiettivo adesso è migliorare le capacità di orientamento, memoria e attenzione, che risultano ancora deficitarie”. “Fino all’altro giorno la moglie ha cercato di convincerlo che si è trattato di una pallottola nella testa, ma lui si rifiuta di crederlo. E’ convinto di aver sofferto un incidente automobilistico. Non ricorda ancora nulla”.
"The player will have to undergo an intensive treatment from 6 to 8 weeks to recover his memory and cognitive functions... Cabanas has a cognitive problem. The objective now is to strengthen his capacity for orientation, memory and attention that still remain deficient...Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, April 2, 2010.
Up until the other day, his wife tried to convince him that a bullet was still in his head, but he refused to believe it. He is convinced that he had a car accident. He still does not remember anything."
Italian and Spanish to English interpretation and translation by Steve Amoia of World Football Commentaries.