YAOUNDE—A medical plane has flown out football legend Rigobert Song to Paris, where he is expected to get better medical care, even though he had already come out of 24-hour coma at the Yaounde central hospital where he spent two days.
Hundreds of fans cheered and whistled as an ambulance drove the “intermediate” Lions’ coach and former captain of the men’s footall team out of the hospital earlier this evening. Song smile and waved, an eyewitness said.
The former Cameroon international was brought to hospital on Sunday. Family members said he was unconscious at the time. Doctors diagnosed that he had suffered a cerebrovascular accident, a medical term for a stroke.
After 24 hours in the emergency room, the player “woke up” Monday evening, in the first sign of recovery.
Details of his condition have not been released. Hospital officials said simply that he was stable and in an “acceptable” state. The director of Yaounde emergency services confirmed Song had come out of coma and was able to speak.
“The latest news since his admission into the emergency room is good because the patient Song has woken up from his state of coma,” said the director, Louis Joss Bitang, last evening.
“We can report that his state of health is acceptable. He breathes freely. Brain haemorrhage has been brought under control.”
While in Paris, Song will be treated at La Pitie Salapetriere hospital.
A photo of the footballer – bare-bodied in a tilted bed with life support fittings – made the rounds of social media on Monday.
Images and video captured by bystanders outside the Central Hospital this evening showed a white ambulance leaving the hospital and a police van that appeared to be providing escort services.
The plane that took him to Paris arrived in Yaounde this morning. Crew members rested through the afternoon and were air bound again after a series of unspecified administrative procedures, a source at the PM’s office said.
Song played for Cameroon from 1993 to 2010 and was captain of the Indomitable Lions for 14 years. He played professional football in England and other European countries.
Fans have continued to show support for the former footballer, whose bitter departure from the Indomitable Lions was easily overshadowed by his embodiment of the so called Lions’ fighting spirit.
Numerous public authorities visited the player and comforted his family during the two days he spent at the Yaounde Central Hospital, where doctors initially concentrated on “stabilizing” him and preparing for the long flight.
Samuel Eto’o Fils, who succeeded Song as captain of the Indomitable Lions in 2010 sent wishes of good will in a tweet and Facebook post. “I wish you lots of courage and a speedy recovery Big Brother,” Eto’o wrote on Facebook at 5:30pm on Monday.