For a person to save one life is rare, but to save four in eight years is a miracle. Just ask the footballers saved from the grim reaper by Togo footballer Francis Kone.
Kone is known as a miracle man on the football pitch. Not because he can bend it like Beckham or pass it like Pele, but because he is famous for saving other players’ lives.
The 26-year-old plays for Slovacko. He hit the headlines after preventing a goalkeeper from swallowing his own tongue.
It happened during a Czech Republic match between Slovacko and the Bohemians 1905. There was a sickening collision between the Bohemian’s goalkeeper and his defender. Although the defender soon recovered, the clash knocked the goalkeeper out cold.
Kone explained, “The goalkeeper was lying on his back, and I could see the whites of his eyes. They were rolling in his head. He was either unconscious or worse.”
In a race against the clock, Kone placed a firm foot on the man’s chest in case he began convulsing. With the help of teammates he then turned him on his side to keep the airways open. Kone then forced his fingers into the man’s mouth and attempted to pull his tongue back.
Kone was actually bitten as the goalkeeper’s teeth clamped down. Yet it didn’t prevent him from completing his mission and saving the man’s life.
Kone revealed, “It was all over in a few seconds. When the goalkeeper actually tried to say something I knew he was going to be fine. That’s when I got up and walked away.”
Saving lives has now become second nature to Kone. He has prevented deaths across the globe. Eight years ago in Thailand he saved another unconscious player from choking. The second and third times were in Africa.
The modest footballer credits his mother for his heroics. Kone explained she always told him to take responsibility. She also advised her son to never run away from something bad.
This includes the racist chants that Kone has had to put up with from a handful of ignorant fans when playing.
Kone describes it as ‘hurtful’, but rises above such name-calling. He believes only in helping his fellow man.
In this competitive and dog eat dog world, we need more heroes like Kone. Both on and off the pitch.