Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara was described as awake and alert at University of Kansas Hospital after being stretchered off the field Tuesday at Children’s Mercy Park.
Opara was diagnosed with the most severe grade of concussion. He remained at the hospital overnight.
FC Dallas forward Maxi Urruti accidentally kicked Opara in the face while attempting a bicycle kick in extra time of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match, which Sporting KC won 3-0. Opara stayed motionless on the field for several minutes before departing on a stretcher. He gave a thumbs-up signal as he left.
After the match, Urruti, who was ejected on the play, walked to the Sporting KC locker room to seek an update on Opara. He appeared distraught after the play, placing his head in his hands as left the field.
Opara is likely to miss considerable time, extending a run of bad luck over the course of his career.
While in San Jose, foot injuries ended his seasons in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he missed a month because of a concussion. After moving to Sporting KC in 2014, he suffered a chondral defect in his ankle, ending his season. After returning in 2015, he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon, another year-ending injury. He initially planned to retire after that injury before changing his mind.
“I haven’t forgotten about those hard times,” Opara told The Star in April. “That’s (shaped) my motto — enjoy every day that I get, every practice that I get.
“Because I was so close to just walking away.”