FCD's Ihemelu making good progress

Injured Dallas center back slowly recovering from concussion

FRISCO, Texas — Ugo Ihemelu admits he doesn’t remember much about FC Dallas’ August 8 match with the expansion Philadelphia Union, and that’s probably a good thing. Ihemelu suffered a concussion in a midair collision with the Union’s Kyle Nakazawa and hasn’t played since.

“I still don’t remember what happened,” Ihemelu said on Thursday. “I don’t remember the collision or going off [the field]. The first thing I start to remember is around 10:30 or 11:30 at the hospital when I was getting ready to leave and my parents were there. I remember leaving but before that, it was questionable.”

On Thursday, he had a milestone of sorts as he was able to ride an exercise bike for the first time since his injury. Ihemelu has been present at several FCD training sessions over the past week.

“I rode the bike for the first time today,” he said. “I’m doing stuff with Josh [Watts, FCD's athletic trainer] to keep it to where I’m not feeling any headaches or dizziness from the workout. I went out and did some stuff on the field today, some passing stuff and reaction stuff.”

On Tuesday, he had more tests. FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman discussed the results of those tests after training on Thursday.

“[He is] improving, the tests are improving but [he’s] still got some ways to go,” Hyndman said.

“[I feel] better than I was, starting to feel like I’m getting back to my normal self,” Ihemelu said. “It’s heading in the right direction. I’m trying to not let myself get frustrated about it. It’s important for me to take it slow because it’s my brain and soccer won’t be there forever.”

While he hasn’t been able to return to practice just yet, being able to watch his teammates practice has been pretty therapeutic for the former FCD starter.

“The first day I came back in the locker room, it was fun,” Ihemelu said. “Today was the second full training I’ve gotten a chance to watch. It makes you want to get out there. It’s just motivation.”

In Ihemelu’s absence, rookie Zach Loyd, the fifth overall pick in January’s SuperDraft, has filled in admirably.

“Zach’s had some big plays for us,” Ihemelu said. “He and George [John] are interacting well. He’s playing with confidence and that’s a good thing. He’s made a few errors but that comes with playing and having that experience. I think he will be good.”