After suffering serious injuries in a car accident in September, Palace defender Pape Souare has opened up about the subsequent six months as he attempts to battle back to the Eagles’ first-team.
The Senegalese left-back was left with a broken leg and jaw after a collision on the M4 that saw him air-lifted to hospital and put his career on the backburner, and for the first time he has been speaking about that traumatic day to eagles.cpfc.co.uk.
In an in-depth interview, Souare said: “I remember everything about the accident, but I didn’t realise [how bad it was] straight away. Then I couldn’t move my leg and knew it was something serious. I thank God that some people came over to my car and started talking to me while I waited for the ambulance to come and get me out. They got me to hospital as quick as they could and I thank them because they did a nice job.
“The day after the gaffer [Alan Pardew] came, and I remember Scott Dann and Damien [Delaney] did too, and the doc [Zaf Iqbal] was with me all the time. That was a good sign from the club and the staff showing how they would support me, so that was nice.”
Six months on from the day that transformed his life, Souare admits that he has a new perspective on life which is aiding him in his recovery. He is now back regularly around the Eagles squad at their Beckenham base, building up his strength again in the gym as he aims to return to the pitch sometime in the distant future.
“I’m not better than anyone, and what happened to me can happen to anyone,” he said. “It has changed me; it has given me life experience. When you are a football player you think that nothing can happen to you, so because of this kind of situation I have learned from and I think every player can too.
“It’s nice to be around the squad again; the funny thing is they are going out to play and you are staying in the gym but it doesn’t matter. I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I want to work as hard as they are outside because I want to be strong like them. It is not like I am just coming home and sleeping, I am working on my side and they are working on theirs so I can get back strong.”
The 26-year-old knows the road to a full recovery is long, but he has been boosted by the messages of support he has received from the thousands of Palace fans who have been in touch with him on social media, as they get to see his progress step-by-step. Souare cannot thank them enough for their words of encouragement.
“No-one is perfect and people outside can tell you something, touch you and make you feel better so that is why I am trying to talk to everyone,” he added. “Every message they send me is very important to me; I might not answer but I read everything.
“They can’t wait to see me back and I understand that, and I can’t wait to be back. I am not trying to set any target because I know I had a serious injury, so I have to take my time and not rush it. I just want to do my best to get back when I can.”
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