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October 14, 2006 marked a time former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will never forget. The Czech Republic international suffered a life threatening injury after a collision with Stephen Hunt led to a depressed skull fracture. He was rushed to the Royal Berkshire hospital before being transferred to the specialist brain-injury unit at Oxford’s Radcliffe Infirmary, where he underwent emergency surgery. Two metal plates were fitted in his skull.
The incident was bad that Cech even had to make plans for a life outside football.
“Nobody knew if I would be able to come back,” he says in an interview with the official Chelsea website.
“There were plenty of questions, and not many answers. In my head I had to prepare for the end of my career. That made me see things in a different way.
“Plan A was to do everything I could to come back. That was my target. But I had a plan B in the back of my head and I was preparing for the worst if I couldn’t come back. If it wasn’t possible, it wasn’t possible.”
The bone in Cech’s skull took 12 weeks to heal and he was able to train on his own but needed to protect his head, which led to him wearing a helmet for the rest of his career.
Just a couple of days after returning to full training, Mourinho asked Cech if he wanted to play.
“I said I did,” he affirms. “It was against all the advice I got from people around me, because they thought mentally I should let the season go and prepare for the next one.
“But I just felt I was so fit and happy to come back the right thing would be to return; 105 days or whatever it was after the surgery, I played a game in Liverpool.”