Raul Jimenez says doctors told him it was a “miracle” he survived a skull fracture last year, but the Wolves striker was always confident he would recover and play football again.
Jimenez made his first competitive appearance on Saturday since sustaining the injury at Arsenal in November 2020 following an accidental clash of heads with David Luiz.
The Mexico international received oxygen on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital, where he had emergency surgery for a major traumatic brain injury (TBI) and skull fracture.
Almost nine months later, the 30-year-old played the full 90 minutes of Wolves’ Premier League season opener against Leicester. Addressing reporters on Tuesday, he spoke at length about the “shocking” incident and his road to recovery.
“Since the first moment, the surgeons and doctors told me what happened and the risks,” Jimenez said. “Sometimes it’s not what you want to hear but it’s their job. They told me it was a miracle to be here.
“The bone had broken and there was a little bit of bleeding inside my brain. That’s why the surgery had to be quick and it was a really good job from the doctors.
“Since the beginning, they were really supportive with me. The skull fracture took a little bit longer than we all expected to heal and it really is a miracle for me to be here with you.”
Jimenez suffered the injury following an accidental clash of heads with David Luiz in November 2020
Jimenez returned to full pre-season training under new Wolves boss Bruno Lage in July and scored his first goal since the injury in a 1-1 friendly draw with Stoke.
He now wears specially-designed headgear for heading, full-contact training and matches. He will continue to do so for the rest of his career and says it never crossed his mind to stop playing football altogether.
“I always thought it was maybe like an ankle injury or a knee injury, and after my recovery I’ll be back to do what I love to do,” he said.
“I never thought about finishing my career or stopping playing. There was a chance of that, but I was always confident I was going to return.”