Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has spoken publicly for the first time since his off-field accident, in which he tripped over a bike rack on the streets of Vancouver and suffered a concussion.
The midfielder is participating in non-contact training this week until at least Thursday as he tries to build himself up for a return, possibly as soon as this weekend against the Colorado Rapids at BC Place (6:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“It was embarrassing,” Reo-Coker said with a laugh on Tuesday after a training session. “But I've had worse. I should just be paying more attention to where I was going. Outside of football is my own personal time, and [it's] embarrassing, in a way slightly a funny story, but I've lived to tell the tale.”
When asked to provide the “true story” of his accident, after much speculation and innuendo has swirled, the Englishman gave a glimpse of the fall.
“I had a little accident,” Reo-Coker said. “I wasn't paying attention, went over a bike rack and smashed my head against the concrete, cement, and I had a serious gash in my head, and suffered a little concussion.
“That's exactly what happened.”
In terms of the chances of playing this weekend, Reo-Coker said he is feeling better but still needs to be careful about not rushing back too soon given the head injury.
“It's just league procedure,” Reo-Coker said. “It's obviously the concussion side of things and it's about being careful, about not rushing me back in too early, too soon. There's tests that have to be conducted and done. Today I'm outside, did some ball work, did non-contact stuff, and that's what it's going to be for the next three days.
“We'll see how I am at the end of the week.”
Ultimately, as blushworthy as the incident has been for the player, and the fact it has kept him out of at least one game, Reo-Coker states he realizes that the accident could actually have had even greater consequences.
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“For me, personally, it could have been a lot worse,” Reo-Coker said. “In all honesty, the impact I had on the cement, it could have been a lot worse. I'm just thankful it isn't as bad as it could have been. There's a big scar on my face now – slightly improved my looks, but these things happen.
“In a way it is a bit of a crazy story, but that is the reality of what happened exactly.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.