Honduras footballer Elis remains in coma after head injury

28-year-old striker knocked out in Ligue 2 game against Guingamp after colliding with defender Gomis

AFP February 26, 2024


Honduras striker Alberth Elis remained in an induced coma on Sunday  after a serious head injury with his French club Bordeaux saying it was "impossible" to comment on his vital signs.

Elis, 28, was knocked unconscious just 40 seconds into Saturday's Ligue 2 game against Guingamp when he met a cross and collided with the head of defender Donatien Gomis.

Although Gomis recovered quickly, Elis was treated for several minutes on the pitch before being evacuated to hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday evening.

"Alberth Elis suffered a head trauma which led to him being placed in an induced coma," Bordeaux said in a statement.

"We will follow the evolution of his state of health in the hospital in the coming days.

"At this moment, it is still impossible to comment on Alberth's vital signs and functional prognosis."

They said they were setting up a psychological unit to support Elis's teammates and club staff "in these difficult times".

The Honduras national team posted a message of support for Elis, nicknamed "La Panterita" ("Little Panther"), on X.

"Courage and strength Alberth Elis...  Panterita, you are a warrior who knows how to fight. Honduras is with you," it said.

Many players, including Kylian Mbappe, and French football clubs have also been flooding social networks with messages of support since Saturday evening.

Elis's fellow Honduran Luis Palma peeled off his Celtic jersey after scoring the Scottish champions' third goal against Motherwell on Sunday to reveal an undershirt with the writing: "Fuerzas Elis" ("Have strength, Elis").

Elis made his name with Houston in the MLS before moving to Europe in 2020 when he joined Portuguese side Boavista. He moved to Bordeaux in 2021.

Since making his international debut in 2014, Elis has won 64 caps for Honduras, scoring 13 goals.

Bordeaux went on to beat Guingamp 1-0 with Bordeaux midfielder Gaetan Weissbeck saying: "We are dedicating this win to Alberth Elis".

Club president Gerard Lopez thanked everyone especially rival clubs for all the support "for Alberth and his loved ones".

The statement on X was accompanied by a photo of a smiling Elis with the caption: "We are all with you Alberth".

Before the Elis drama, football had seen other players suffer similar injuries.

At the start of the season, France's 2018 World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti collided with Japan's Junya Ito in Lille's clash in Ligue 1 against Reims.

In Spain, Barcelona's Ronald Araujo was also hospitalised after clashing with teammate Gavi against Celta Vigo in 2022.

The most high-profile case remains that of Petr Cech in 2006.

The Chelsea goalkeeper was hit in the face by a Reading player's knee and was treated off the field before being hospitalised.

He then wore head protection for the rest of his career.


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