20 Apr 2011
- Written by Shaun Fuentes (TTFF)
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Try to picture this! You’re walking onto the Hasely Crawford Stadium playing pitch before a packed out crowd for a Fifa World Cup match.
You’re lining up alongside Kenwyne Jones for T&T at the 2001 Fifa Under-17 World Cup against the likes of Brazil, Australia and Croatia. A football career seems set to blossom.
Three years later you wake up in a nursing home after being knocked unconscious and mere weeks later you’re told you can never play the game again. Jamal Hamid can tell the story today from real life experience.
Hamid suffered a severe brain concussion when he was struck on the back of his head by an elbow of an opposing player in a Super League match between Joe Public and Caroni on August 10, 2004.
January that year saw him tour Bermuda with the national senior team. It would be the last time he made a national team.
Hamid was under the care of T&T Football Federation (TTFF) medics including Doctor Terrence Babwah following the horrid injury and is today employed at the Concacaf Development Office, Centre of Excellence, Macoya where he’s experiencing a second life “in football.”
“The recovery process was difficult because honestly everyday I would be in a lot of pain and I would be frustrated. I was unable to walk and I had to learn how to walk all over but thanks to Dr Terrence Babwah I became mobile again,” the 27-year-old Hamid said. “I don’t remember much about that day the injury took place.
Our team manager Sam Phillip told me when I woke up at Medical Associates that I was struck on the head and I was in a neck brace and couldn’t move.
I panicked but Mr Phillip helped me to calm down. Imagine I was in pampers as well. That part was even scarier for me. I didn’t know what was happening to me,” Hamid recalled.
The ex-Arima Senior Comprehensive student and Maloney resident works behind the scenes to ensure all the various courses and workshops for Concacaf comes off smoothly at the Centre of Excellence and he’s grateful to Jack Warner for looking after his interests.
“I’m grateful to Mr Jack Warner, who has been like a father figure from day one, for putting everything in place for my recovery and Jinelle James of their Concacaf Technical Department as well as and Jamilla Charles of the Centre of Excellence for their guidance.
Michael McComie, who was the Joe Public coach at the time of my injury, was also there with me every step of the way. “My daughter Briseis is a great part of my world now.
She was born two days before I started my job at Concacaf in March 2008 and she keeps me going. “I still get seizures sometimes but I’m happy to be alive and able to work on the other side of football now.
I get to see the football world from a different angle and I thank God for that everyday,” ended Hamid, who will be shouting his lungs out for Jones in next month’s FA Cup Final.