BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- After a week away dealing with concussion symptoms suffered in last week’s U.S. Open Cup defeat to D.C. United, the sight of Patrick Nyarko Thursday at Toyota Park was a pleasant one.
Nyarko clashed heads with United defender James Riley in the 11th minute of last Wednesday’s loss but continued playing until being removed from the match in the 36th minute.
“I feel pretty good,” Nyarko told Chicago-Fire.com. “It was a pretty good hit and I got some swelling but since that died down I’ve been feeling pretty good.”
Nyarko has experienced multiple concussions over his six seasons with the Men in Red and the Chicago Fire medical staff strictly followed the league’s protocol for head injuries.
His return to Toyota Park was a good sign, with the player indicating he was hopeful to be cleared to begin training again in the next few days. Still, he admits to thinking hard about the effect that numerous concussions could have on his career.
“There are so many concussions you can get and you look at guys who have had to stop playing because of that, it makes me think about it a lot. I don’t want hits to the head to end my career.”
Despite Wednesday’s loss being out of his hands, Nyarko admits he still put some blame on himself.
“I was disappointed and very hard on myself. I felt we were on top of them and very obviously its beyond my control but I still felt that I needed to be there for the team – we could have won the game.
“I’m not saying because I came off we lost but I felt the cohesiveness of the team from the big win in Philadelphia – we had something going on and I thought that was going to carry us through that game. Unfortunately one of the parts came off and we had to readjust.”
Missing the team’s 2-1 win over Montreal, Nyarko was encouraged by the team’s performance and hopes it will carry over to Saturday night’s game at New England.
“I was really proud of the way the guys bounced back against a good team like Montreal. We’re missing players in that game but you still get a good result and it makes us realize we have depth and confidence on this team.
“I think we continue to play like that, we’ll pick up points.”