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Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk Support Injured Soldier Treated In Barcelona

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Taras Stepanenko, the captain of Shakhtar Donetsk, and the goalkeeping coach for the Ukrainian team paid a visit to an injured Ukrainian soldier recuperating in a Barcelona clinic ahead of their Champions League match in the northeastern Spanish city.

When Vitaly Shumei, 35, was struck by an artillery round in August 2022 while fighting in the Donbass region, he lost a portion of his skull. Shakhtar made the decision to cover the cost of his move to the Guttmann Brain Health Institute in Barcelona, where he is undergoing an extensive neurorehabilitation procedure. “With all the strong feelings. Stepanenko told Reuters, “When you see him, he is a really strong guy who protect(ed) our country. I really wanted to cry.”

Shumei’s condition has greatly improved in the five months that he has been in Barcelona, according to a statement from Shakhtar. This improvement was particularly noticeable following a difficult brain operation that was done in June. Shumei is just now opening his mouth to speak. A few words like “yes, dad” and “juice” are what he can utter, it seems.

“After the surgery… he was more attentive, he started to turn his head to verbal commands,” neurologist Sergio Albu told Stepanenko and Andriy Pyatov, a former Shakhtar goalkeeper who now coaches at the club. Shumei’s father, Serhiy, said he wanted his son to be back on his feet as soon as possible, though “if it turns out otherwise, that means this is how fate treats us”.

“I want to tell people that if this happens to your child, to your husband, to your brother or son, I beg you to hold on – there will be a glimmer of hope to hold on,” he added. Shakhtar face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

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