“He was the boy of the moment”: at 20 an accident brought him close to death and cut short his career as a footballer
At the age of 14, Pablo Esci was number 4, a position in which he grew up admiring players of the stature of “El Negro” Ibarra, “El Pupi” Zanetti and the Brazilian Dani Alves. He began playing football at the Everton Olimpia Sports Association (ADEO) club in Cañada de Gómez (Santa Fe), his place of origin.
Although he made his debut in the First Division in 2007, at the age of 18, he only established himself as a starter in 2009 when, after playing the Clásico, he did not leave the team any more. The speed and his intelligence when reading the plays, among other attributes, made Being the youngest in the squad, he took over the right side very quickly.
At that time I was 20 years old and, in addition, I was studying Marketing. And like most young people his age, he liked to go out dancing a lot, but he only did it on Fridays because on Sundays he had a party. He had long hair, he wore a headband, he played soccer and he didn’t do badly with girls. “He was the boy of the moment”, as he said a few months ago in a self-improvement talk he gave for Fifth Year students in his city.
However, on November 10, 2009, his football growth and his dreams of being able to try out for a club of greater importance -as he had been proposed-, were cut short. That night, a car turned red in front of Pablo, blocking his way as he crossed green on his motorcycle.
Pablo, unconscious, was taken to the local hospital, where they conditioned him to be able to transfer him alive to Rosario. As a result of the accident, he was diagnosed with severe Cranial Brain Injury with cerebral edema that required 20 days of Intensive Care. However, he says, the first moments were the most critical since his life was at risk because they could not stabilize his pressure. As a result of the blow to the head, he was left with a left hemiplegia.
“Chatting at a dinner with my family, when I had already returned home, they asked me what memories I had of hospitalization in the sanatorium and one of my answers was that I remembered when my father put his head close to my ear and told me: `Lay eggs like always because we are going to walk out of here together`. This memory of mine made my old man explode with happiness. I think that my resilient mind, from its unconscious, understood that something was wrong and took that request from my old man as a goal to fulfill”, recalls Pablo, from a distance.
During those delicate days in which Pablo had not yet made the click of what had happened to him, he received a huge gesture from his teammates that showed him, once again, the unity that existed within that squad. “One night celebrating the championship we won, a person ventured to promise us a trip to the sea if we won the two-time championship undefeated. And we carried this unthinkable madness forward with a crucial mitigating factor that intervened just before the final, my accident. Finding myself with such a serious prognosis, that person instead of giving us the trip, he gave my companions an amount of silver in dollars, money that they without hesitation took to my parents so that they could afford some of the innumerable expenses that my situation demanded. When I found out about this gesture I was filled with pride and satisfaction because I was the youngest in the group and that they had that gesture was gratifying”.
When Pablo went to a common room in the sanatorium, where he was already awake, he discovered that his arm and his left could not move. “Also, I noticed that I was breathing through a tube in my throat (tracheostomy) and half of my skull was missing. Given my desperation and my anguish, both my family and my friends told me what had happened and despite all these setbacks I promised myself three specific goals: recover completely, finish my tertiary degree and play football again”.
One month and three days after the accident, he was transferred to the Pilares del Rosario rehabilitation clinic, where Pablo would begin the real objective of reactivating his body to put into motion the promise he had made to his loved ones.
“At first, the progress in my recovery was very noticeable and it filled all my loved ones with pride when visiting hours arrived and I showed them even the smallest and simplest new movement. In those moments, the affection and perseverance of the visits were fundamental, and at no time were they cowed by the oppressive heat of that summer. In fact, at one point I told my psychologist that it hurt me that my visitors had to come between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. instead of enjoying the summer, the sun, and the pool. And almost without letting me finish, he told me: ‘rest assured that the only sun and summer for all of them is that you are alive and recovering’”.
As time passed and beyond his constant advances, as a result of several talks that Pablo had with his kinesiologist and friend (Raúl) he understood that playing football at the level and intensity that his head wanted would be “impossible” for your body. However, in this new stage he would find a new old love that would return his desire to return to training and take on new challenges.
With Julio, his kinesiologist, he began to do hydrotherapy and from that moment he began to project the possibility of returning to swimming, a discipline that he had practiced from the age of three to 14.
In August 2012, when his throat was already closed and he had returned to breathing normally, after performing the rehabilitation exercises he decided to try some lengths and in this way successively in each session he added more meters.
“A person from the club who saw my effort and dedication to train gave me the contact information for Malvina, a coach from Rosario involved in adapted sports. From then on I started training with her twice a week at Echesortu FC in Rosario. Once again I felt like an athlete, especially when February 2013 arrived and Malvina invited me to participate in an adapted swimming tournament in Paraná (Entre Ríos) next to the Echesortu campus. My eyes lit up with happiness, when I told Julio he got excited and asked Malvina to also write down Guillermo, another of his patients who had begun to combine rehabilitation and swimming.
-Excellent, we can be more than satisfied now -Julio told Pablo after his performance in that competition.
-Are you crazy? Until we leave the country, we won’t stop -Pablo replied, with great enthusiasm, which generated a big smile in his kinesiologist.
“Julio took the opportunity in that tournament to make many contacts related to adapted sports since his dream was to form our own team and start working that way. In June another tournament was going to be held that raised the bar because it was the Argentine International Open and it would take place at the CENARD where the pool has Olympic measurements, that is, 50 meters long. For this contest we add a new swimmer, Julián, and we travel under a funny name that identifies us as `The Little Fish with Broken Fins”. I obtained very good results competing with Argentine, Brazilian, Colombian, Uruguayan and Venezuelan swimmers and thanks to my performance and my results I gained more and more confidence and satisfaction”, recalls Pablo.
From that moment on, Pablo began to participate in all the events of the country’s adapted swimming schedule, in which he constantly improved his times, so in 2016 he traveled to an international Open in Rio de Janeiro, which was held at the venue. where the JJ would then take place. OO.
In this way, he managed to represent the country at the 2019 Para Pan American Games in Lima (Peru). Not to mention the day the list came out, much less when the first race arrived and I went to the starting bucket dressed in light blue and white”, he gets excited.
Pablo also managed to finish his tertiary studies and currently has a part-day job. And he continues training in swimming in search of great goals, while he continues to rehabilitate. And he is also writing his biography so that he can help other people who are going through a difficult time. “I decided to write it to show that second chances exist if we really look for them and also that our attitude towards problems or obstacles in life is essential. I dream of continuing to meet goals that appear along the way, although even today I would like to find the right woman to share my life with and form a family together”, he is excited.