Hibs' Elias Melkersen opens up on concussion: 'My head was gone'

There are always some performances and results that players would be happy to forget but blanking out Hibs’ defeat to St Mirren in Paisley, in August, was not Elias Melkersen’s choice.

Hibs forward Elias Melkersen has suffered three bouts of concussion this season.
Hibs forward Elias Melkersen has suffered three bouts of concussion this season.

The 19-year-old Norwegian suffered a concussion after an accidental dunt to the temple that afternoon. It caused some memory loss, and it is only now that he is finding his feet again. “I love to play football, it’s the best thing I know, so it’s good to be back,” said the striker. “It was very tough to deal with because you feel like you’re ok, then you train and you feel so s***. So it was very bad. I would start to sway and feel dizzy. I couldn’t focus and my head would start to pump as well, so it was not good.”

His third concussion in a relatively short period, he says that the recovery has taken longer this time. But after three substitute appearances since the start of October, he returned to the starting line-up on Tuesday. “The doctors told me not to rush it and take the time I needed,” continued Melkersen. “But it was very frustrating because I wanted to come back as fast as possible. My body was completely fine but my head was gone, that was the frustrating part. I knew that physically I could do everything but my head wasn’t working the way it wanted to. I wanted to come back but the club kept telling me to be patient. Before, I was out for maybe one and a half weeks but this was four weeks.”

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After taking Paul Hanlon’s hip to his temple in Paisley, Melkersen got back up and continued playing but there was concern in the aftermath. “When I fell down I got straight back up again but I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t remember the previous week. So it was really bad. It was a strange feeling. I was very concerned. The team, the coaches and everyone at the club have been really good in helping me and taking care of me and checking on me every day. But It was worrying. I have had some concussions before but this was the worst one. I just need to protect myself more when I play. I like to go into duels but maybe now I will not go into really big ones.”

He says that, but the teenage striker enjoys the physical side of the game and, having worked hard to bulk up, he is not known for backing off centre-halves, especially when he is seeking his first goal since July and Hibs are in dire need of three points to halt the recent run of six defeats and the subsequent slide down the Premiership standings. While defensively there have been frailties, another issue has been the lack of cutting edge up front.

“I’m confident the goals will come soon,” added Melkersen. “I don’t need to think about it because then it will become worse. We just need to have a good week and recover from the last game. We know Kilmarnock are a physical team on the astro so it will be tough but I think we can get some points. It will be good for us to get some points and then get a good break.”