The Colorado Rapids report today that captain Pablo Mastroeni will miss at least six additional weeks as precaution for the concussion-related symptoms he continues to experience.
Mastroeni has said before that his wife and family are priorities, and that he must always consider life after soccer.
He reports that manager Oscar Pareja and his Rapids staff have been quite supportive all along, never mind the veteran’s obvious importance around Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The elephant in the room here is this: Mastroeni is 35. He’s been at this thing professionally since 1998. This is his 15th season in Major League Soccer, having started with that talented 1998 Miami Fusion side. No matter what else happens, he’s had a fabulous domestic soccer career. The Argentine-born midfielder was a surprise choice on Bruce Arena’s 2002 U.S. World Cup side, but hardly a surprise when chosen to represent his country once again at Germany 2006.
Given what he’s already (rightly) said about health and family, given his age, and given how we’ve already seen others – Taylor Twellman and Alecko Eskandarian most notably – forced into retirement due to concussion issues, there’s a looming possibility here that Mastroeni may lean to caution and not return.
Major League Soccer, by the way, is taking the issue seriously, having already implemented changes in concussion protocol.