Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara was released from the hospital Wednesday, a day after he required a stretcher to leave a soccer match at Children’s Mercy Park.
Opara was kicked in the face late in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, which Sporting KC won 3-0. He remained on the field for seven minutes before departing on a stretcher.
According to the team, Opara was diagnosed with a severe (grade 3) concussion Tuesday night at University of Kansas Hospital but was awake and alert and able to sit up in his bed. The medical definition of a grade 3 concussion indicates that Opara lost consciousness on the field.
Opara, who will be placed in MLS concussion protocol, posted a message to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
“Sooo ... what’d I miss?” he wrote, followed my a smiley face. “Big thanks to the EMTs, KU med, trainers, doctors. Thank you to all for the love and support. Always means a lot to me!
“Well done to the boys for pulling it out under tough circumstances. That crowd last night was electric.”
FC Dallas forward Maxi Urruti accidentally swiped Opara in the face with his cleat while attempting a bicycle kick in the first half of extra time. Urruti received his second yellow card on the play and was ejected from the match. Sporting KC promptly scored three goals over the ensuing 15 minutes to win the game.
After the match, Urruti approached a Sporting KC official outside the locker room to check on the status of Opara.
A severe grade of concussion typically includes an extended absence from athletic activity. It wouldn’t be the first time for Opara, who has had a long list of season-ending injuries.
It was foot injuries that cut short his 2010 and 2011 seasons; an unusual ankle injury ended 2014; and a ruptured Achilles’ tendon was the culprit of his 2015 ending abruptly. The latter prompted Opara to plan his retirement from soccer before he ultimately changed his mind.