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Kompany decision to play on stuns doctor
Vincent Kompany risked his life by playing for nearly an hour with severe facial injuries, writes the Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan. The Belgian captain collided with Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic after 34 minutes of Belgium’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win, breaking his nose, fracturing an eye socket and suffering concussion. Kompany had leaped to try to get in a header from a corner, but Stojkovic rushed out and tried to punch the ball, appearing to accidentally catch his opponent with fist and elbow. Kompany was left rolling on the ground in pain, with referee and players urgently signalling for assistance. But after briefly leaving the field for treatment, he continued until the end of the game, showing ‘extraordinary courage’, according to Belgium manager Marc Wilmots. Belgium team doctor Kris van Crombrugge examined Kompany on the sidelines and decided he could continue. He said afterwards: “He was groggy and I immediately saw he had a broken nose. “I did a neurological examination. I checked his pupils and I asked him some basic questions to check that he could give consistent answers.” After those checks, van Crombrugge decided he was able to continue. But sports doctor Chris Goossen feels that the Belgian medical staff ran the risk of Kompany suffering serious injury, and even death, by not substituting him. “It was an irresponsible risk,” he said. “I admire his dedication, but it was dangerous. A blood clot can cause a stroke. He risked a stroke.” That claim was refuted by van Crombrugge, who retorted: “It was certainly a borderline decision, but it was not irresponsible. We constantly kept an eye on him and at any sign of loss of concentration or coordination problems, we would have taken him off.” After ensuring the win which puts his country in charge of their group, Kompany was kept overnight in hospital for observation, but flew to Manchester on Saturday to be with his family. He may have to wear a protective mask when he returns to training with City next month, but the injury is expected to heal by the start of the season. Kompany’s bravery has enhanced his status in his homeland – fans set up a Facebook page entitled ‘Vincent Kompany is a Hero.'