The day when Nery PUMPIDO lost his finger

The 7th July of 1987 during a River Plate's practice session, Nery PUMPIDO (Argentine goalkeeper and World Cup winner with Argentina the year before) under the direction of trainer Luis Maria Bonnini, was performing a simple exercise: jumping under the crossbar and touching it with both hands. In one of the jumps his wedding ring was caught in one of the hooks that holds the net. Pumpido was left hanging from the ring, until his ring finger was separated from his hand. The player fell to the floor and passed out from the pain. After going to a nearby hospital he was moved to Mitre Hospital, which has the best facilities for microsurgery in Buenos Aires. Doctor Enrique Penner, considered one of the best specialists in this topic, worked during four and a half hours trying to reattach the finger. The surgery, which ended after midnight, was considered a success, but the doctors warned that there must be a wait of at least one week, to follow up on how the skin reacts and the extent of the damage due to the hours the finger was separated from the hand without blood flow. The day after in the newspaper “Pumpido’s chances of playing again are good, though the doctors warn of a reduction of sensitivity and mobility in the hand.” And it was true. Pumpido continue his career with River Plate some weeks after this curious accident then he moved in Spain and player for Real Betis. Meanwhile he continued to be Argentine's national goalkeeper until the 1990 World Cup. During this World Cup in Italy, Nery Pumpido broke his leg in the eleventh minute of Argentina's second game against the USSR. He was replaced by substitute Sergio Goycochea (also his understudy at River Plate), who had not played a game in eight months. Ironically, Goycochea eventually became key to Argentina's run to the Final, saving penalty shoot-out kicks in the quarter final win over Yugoslavia and the semi-final victory over hosts Italy. But this is another story....

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