COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids will be without captain Pablo Mastroeni for a minimum of six weeks due to the re-occurrence of post-concussion symptoms, the midfielder told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday afternoon.
While watching the Rapids defeat the Fire 2-0 from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park pressbox, Mastroeni said team doctors advised him to sit out six weeks, and he would be re-assessed at that point in time.
"You've got to feel good and you've got to sleep well, you've got to not have headaches," Mastroeni told The Denver Post. "Until I get that, I can't even start training again."
Mastroeni said he’d been sleeping poorly and feeling various post-concussion symptoms since taking a blow to the head in the Rapids’ season opener March 10. Mastroeni’s concussion problems first began last October, when a collision with Real Salt Lake defender Jámison Olave forced him to miss the rest of the season. He then took a knock to the head in the 2012 season opener against Columbus on March 10 and was taken out of the match.
The veteran has also consulted former New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman about his battles with post-concussion symptoms, and those conversations have helped convince the former US international to take a cautious approach to the injury.
“It’s the real deal,” Mastroeni said.
Mastroeni repeatedly expressed concern for his health once his career ends, saying he wanted to prioritize his wife and children and avoid a similar fate to other former players in MLS and the NFL who have suffered comparable issues. He also wouldn't speculate on his future.
"It's silly to look into the future, because no one knows what the future holds, how I'll feel, so I'm just taking it one day at a time," Mastroeni told The Denver Post. "There's no pill you can take, it's all wait and see."
“They’ve been awesome,” Mastroeni said.
Martín Rivero, who impressed in his MLS debut Sunday afternoon, is expected to take Mastroeni’s place in Colorado's starting lineup while Mastroeni is out. Wells Thompson and Ross LaBauex are other options in the midfield as well.
"I'm hoping and praying for his health first," coach Oscar Pareja told The Denver Post. "He has too much soccer in him, too much passion and desire, and he's a big piece of this organization."