Col­li­sion in La Liga has pos­i­tive end­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - EARLY LEAD BY MARISSA PAYNE marissa.payne@wash­post.com

De­portivo mid­fielder Alex Ber­ganti­nos had his eye on the ball as it flew through the air dur­ing Thurs­day’s 1-1 draw with vis­it­ing Atletico Madrid in Span­ish league play. So did his op­po­nent Fer­nando Tor­res. What nei­ther of the two counted on was the other’s head.

The col­li­sion, which earned Ber­ganti­nos a yel­low card, sent a wave of panic through the sta­dium as Tor­res fell face down onto the pitch, pre­sum­ably un­con­scious.

“[It] was such a hard knock. I heard a crack from the dugout,” Atletico Man­ager Diego Sime­one later said of the ac­ci­dent. “I didn’t know if it was the neck.”

The play­ers on the pitch also had no idea. They rushed to Tor­res’s aid. Some at­tempted to pry his mouth open to make sure he hadn’t swal­lowed his tongue. Oth­ers waved fran­ti­cally for med­i­cal per­son­nel, who rushed onto the field and took Tor­res away on a stretcher.

The 32-year-old ended up in the hospi­tal, where doc­tors later de­liv­ered him rel­a­tively good news in that Tor­res did not suf­fer a bro­ken neck or any other par­a­lyz­ing dam­age. In­stead, he suf­fered what Atletico Madrid de­scribed in a state­ment Fri­day as a “strong blow to the head.”

The state­ment fol­lowed up a tweet Tor­res sent late Thurs­day night in which he thanked “all for wor­ry­ing about me and for your mes­sages of sup­port.”

“It’s just been a scare,” he added. “I hope to come back very soon.”

Among those who wor­ried about Tor­res was the man who ac­ci­den­tally de­liv­ered the blow. Af­ter in­sist­ing there was no mal­ice in his header, Ber­ganti­nos vis­ited his op­po­nent in the hospi­tal.

“He told me to be calm and that th­ese things hap­pen,” Ber­ganti­nos told Spain’s Cope ra­dio late Thurs­day.

Ber­ganti­nos added that Tor­res didn’t re­mem­ber “any­thing about the col­li­sion” but that he re­mained “calm and even smil­ing.”

Tor­res was re­leased from the hospi­tal Fri­day. Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/ear­lylead

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