Former FC Utrecht full-back Mihai Nesu says his painstaking recovery from near-total paralysis feels like he is carrying “the weight of three tractors”.
The Romanian fractured a vertebra in his neck in a training-ground collision with team-mate Alje Schut in May, and the resulting injury to his spinal cord left him able to move only his head and, eventually, his right arm.
In an interview with Romanian sports daily Gazeta Sporturilor, Nesu said: “Three months ago, when I came to the clinic, I thought I would make quick progress. But the feeling does not come back by a miracle.
“When I get out of bed, the only thing I can do is ride in my wheelchair, which I control with my right hand, helped by gravity. I can also operate the phone with my mouth.
“If I take a shower, I feel the water only on the right side of my body. I feel the weight of three tractors pressing down on me.
“My wife told me that the doctors did not know for two days after the surgery whether I would survive.
“When I sleep, I dream that I walk again. I never dreamed about myself in my new situation. I know that many people dream about flying, but my subconscious has changed: I dream about just walking away.”
Nesu, a former Romania international who spent much of his career with Steaua Bucharest before his move to Holland, bears no hard feelings towards Schut and has thanked all those who sent him messages of support in the aftermath of the accident.
“It was just bad luck,” he said. “When I watch football, I see such a collision in almost every game. Alje is a good boy. I told him that it was not his fault what happened.
“I want to thank everyone, Dutch and Romanians, for your support. Every time I think about it, I cry. I am very moved by all the comments after my accident, especially considering that I’m not a superstar.”