Two months ago, FC Salzburg defender Patrick Farkas collapsed just before a morning training session and couldn’t move.
“I was a prisoner in my own body,” Farkas said in a video posted to the official club website. While Salzburg kept quiet about the extent of his injury in the buildup to the Champions League game against Napoli, the 27-year-old has gone public with his struggles, revealing that he suffered a stroke and confirming that he is back in training eyeing a January return to the field.
“I have nothing to hide and everyone should know what I really had: It was a stroke,” Farkas revealed. “I wanted to move, but I couldn’t. I thought about what was happening and briefly thought this was the end.”
The defender told fans that he has a defect in his heart, leading to a blood clot that made its way to his brain. He said that he is cleared for a return to action and will not need surgery to fix the defect, at least before the end of his career, although he does now take blood thinners.
Farkas said he hopes to hear stories that are similar to his, because to this point he believes he is alone in his quest to return to action.
“I want to put this behind me,” he added. “But also because despite long internet research I could not find another professional sportsperson with a similar fate. If there’s anyone out there, he can contact me. I want to bolster other people and show them you get out of this with new strength.”
Farkas joined Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2017 from fellow Austrian side Mattersburg, where he had spent the previous eight seasons. He was a critical player in the squad before falling ill, delivering four assists from the right-back position in eight Austrian Bundesliga games.