Don Goodman: Forget football, this is about Raul Jimenez as a person

Former Wolves star Don Goodman insists the man behind the footballer is the most important thing as Raul Jimenez begins his recovery from a fractured skull.

Raul Jimenez is taken away on a stretcher (AMA)
Raul Jimenez is taken away on a stretcher (AMA)

The 29-year-old Mexican is in a ‘comfortable’ state after undergoing an operation on Sunday night following a clash of heads with David Luiz in the 2-1 win at Arsenal.

Wolves have asked that Jimenez and his family are now given ‘a period of space and privacy’ while he remains under observation.

And Goodman, who also suffered a fractured skull against Huddersfield at Molineux in 1996, said: “At the moment, Raul Jimenez will not have a single, solitary thought about football.

“He’ll be thinking about his partner, family and his baby – his immediate family and his friends.

“He’ll be thinking about getting healthy for them, so he can live the rest of his life as a healthy, happy human being. That’s the first thing.

“When I did mine, my wife was eight-and-a-half months pregnant and my little boy was three. I also had a fit in hospital and it was a moment in my life I thought I was actually dying.

“So, you go through that and then your knight in shining armour, the surgeon, explains why that happened, what he’s going to do and how you’re going to heal.

“And that if everything goes smoothly, you will be able to play football again.

“But football is probably the last thing on Raul’s mind right now. Until he gets the all-clear that there will be no health issues or ramifications, he won’t be thinking about football.

“That’s why he needs this time with his family and loved ones to get over that initial shock.

“I literally felt my brain shake in my head that day. So, it’s about health first, and then it’s about understanding what type of fracture it is and what the healing process is, and how long it might take him to get back to playing.”

Goodman suffered his skull fracture when he clashed heads with Huddersfield’s Steve Jenkins and says Jimenez’s incident – which he saw in person while covering the match for Sky – was ‘almost a carbon-copy’ of his, but that he was the one attacking the ball like Luiz.

It took Goodman, who also had spells with Albion and Walsall, six months to recover.

Explaining his diagnosis and recovery, he said: “I had a fractured skull and I was able to recover in six months and play professionally again, but it’s not that long ago Ryan Mason had a fractured skull and it finished his career.

“The reason I was able to carry on, I think, is because I had a what’s called a depressed fracture of the skull.

“The analogy I was given at the time was imagine having a ping-pong ball and pressing on top of it hard, then there’s an indentation and it stays indented.

“So, the surgeon’s job then was to drill four holes in my skull and lift it back up to where it should be, allowing for a natural healing process. The healing process for a depressed fracture is that there are fibres and tendons which grow from one side of the fracture to the other side, gripping it and pulling it tighter.

“The surgeon reinforced the message to me that my head would actually be stronger than it was before I fractured it, because of this remarkable human body healing process.

“Nobody knows what type of fracture this is at the minute, but that’s an important thing really. I hope Raul’s is going to have been more like mine.”

Goodman, who feels Wolves showed ‘remarkable’ character to beat the Gunners, added: “It’s just time and whatever pace your body heals. Once he’s over the initial phase, then he can start worrying about football and the recovery.

“And the one thing about recovery is it requires patience.

“I was able to run about six weeks after, and that makes you feel better, but the only thing you have when you’ve fractured your skull is patience

“That’s the only commodity you’ve got. Your skull will heal as quickly or as slowly as it does. That requires patience.”

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