Salma Paralluelo, braking at 17

Salma Paralluelo, in 2019.

“Not because we knew the risk was going to become less hard when it happened,” reflects Félix Laguna, the lifelong athletic coach of Zaragoza’s Salma Celeste Paralluelo, an athlete and soccer player with a bright future who tore her anterior cruciate ligament on Saturday of the left knee (accompanied by the breakage of a grade two sprain of the inner side) during the match of his team, Villarreal, of Segunda, against Granada. Laguna confesses that, like Paralluelo herself, she is still in a state of shock due to the serious injury to his pupil, which will be operated on in the next few days, when the bone edema resulting from the break is reduced. The typical payback time is no less than half a year. “It will be a tough few months to come, and more for her, who has never suffered major injuries and does not know how to live without moving all the time, but fortunately she is only 17 years old, she still has the whole future ahead of her. He will get over it perfectly ”.

Laguna speaks of the curse that always stalks the best, those who approach Olympus and those that the gods, jealous, punish, and remind them that they are human, fragile, that they will never be gods. But not even this, not a broken knee, intimidates Paralluelo, 200m and 400m sprinter and youth international and Villarreal top scorer, who remembers on his Instagram account: “I had a dream when I was little: when they asked me, I said I wanted to be the the best athlete and the best soccer player in the world, and this difficult step is not going to take away that dream ”. You will be encouraged to review the history of Olympic champion Carolina Marín, who two years after suffering the same injury has returned to her highest level and is once again a favorite for badminton gold at the next Tokyo Games.

Aware of the impossibility (due to lack of time) of combining soccer and athletics training with the second year of high school, Paralluelo had decided on this course, so complicated by the pandemic, to consider finishing high school in two years and not giving up any of the competitions that were going to saturate his summer, European and world under-20 athletics, European under-19 soccer, absolute relay world championships, and even the Tokyo Games, which he dreamed of reaching. The return after the injury may force her, however, to finally face the choice between soccer and athletics that she was trying to postpone almost eternally.

The rupture of ligaments, the ligature that joins and articulates the femur and the tibia, so common in soccer, basketball or skiing, sports of sharp turns, supporting and rotating, is very rare in athletics, a sport with less aggressive movements. Due to their anatomical characteristics –the wider pelvis needed to give birth– that cause functional knee valgus (walking or running with the knees together), women are more likely to injure the ligaments and relapse more often, and in that sense, Soccer seems more dangerous than athletics, as the president of the athletics federation, Raúl Chapado, reminded Paralluelo, who told him that his triple jump coach, Santi Moreno, broke his crusader and recovered so well that when he returned To compete, a year later, he was jumping more than ever and even broke the Spanish record (16.93m, in 1991). “And I not only broke one ligament, but three, the two crossed and the lateral one, and also the meniscus and the synovial capsule,” explains Moreno, who suffered the damage in 1989. just to lead a normal life, without athletics, and I came back stronger, and neither surgical nor rehabilitation techniques were what they are now … The most difficult thing was to overcome the problem mentally ”.

Paralluelo listens to the reasons for optimism, and metabolizes them, and ends up expressing it in his networks: “This will make me stronger, it will make me grow and it will give me even more strength and motivation to continue working for my dreams.”

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