How Raul Jimenez came back from a life-threatening fractured skull to play for Wolves again – The Athletic


It had been almost 24 painstaking hours since Raul Jimenez’s life had been placed in danger.

The Wolves striker was merely defending a corner, standing his ground in his familiar near-post position, when David Luiz’s forehead connected with the side of Jimenez’s head with such force that it knocked him unconscious and fractured his skull.

Due to pandemic restrictions, his team-mates couldn’t visit him in hospital. They had to return home to Wolverhampton that night and wait impatiently and with fear for news. An update from the club doctor had helped allay their very worst fears, but it was in the early evening of November 30, a day after the horrific events at the Emirates the night before, that Jimenez’s friends and colleagues could start to relax.

Relief came via a surprise WhatsApp message from Jimenez in the squad’s group chat. To paraphrase, it said: “I don’t remember anything but I am being looked after and I’m OK.”

You can imagine the responses. An outpouring of joy, of thanks, of prayers, of love. Their friend was alive.

The sound was the worst thing, hauntingly amplified by an empty stadium. The noise was almost akin to a ball having pinged against the goalpost, but that sound, almost unbearingly difficult to comprehend, was of Jimenez’s skull being cracked. It was instantly apparent to anyone in the vicinity that he was in real trouble.

He lay on his side at first, not moving. Club doctor Matt Perry and physios Ollie Leaper and Rui Fuste rushed to his aid and were immediately aware of the severity of the situation they were dealing with.