This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Omar Holness resurfaced in the Real Salt Lake locker room Monday morning, less than 48 hours after suffering an on-field seizure in his professional debut. He did so both with a smile and his left arm in a sling.
The 22-year-old Jamaican midfielder fell to the pitch at Rio Tinto Stadium in the 34th minute of his one-game loan appearance with Real Monarchs in the club's 2016 USL season opener Saturday night. During the seizing episode that caused a 20-minute delay in the Monarchs' eventual 1-0 win over St. Louis FC, Holness also suffered a separated left shoulder.
What remains unclear is the cause of seizure that forced RSL's No. 5 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft to collapse suddenly to the grass. RSL team physician Dr. Andrew Cooper told The Tribune Monday that there was "nothing glaring" in Holness' medical history pertaining to seizures, including no previously-known seizure activity.
"What we don't know right now is what caused the seizure," Cooper said. "There is a big list of could-be's."
Cooper said he's already placed calls into various neurologists for the next course of action. Cooper expects the Tar Heel product to visit with a specialist soon to determine if Holness needs an MRI or an EEG (electroencephalogram) to gauge whether or not there is any abnormal nerve firings in Holness' brain activity.
"We'll definitely know more by the end of this week," Cooper said.
Holness did undergo a CT scan Saturday night after being transported to a Salt Lake Valley hospital by ambulance. Results of the scan came back negative around 11 p.m., which led to his eventual release Saturday night.
To suffer a coinciding injury like Holness did with his a shoulder dislocation is not uncommon, Cooper said. Once Holness arrived at the hospital, medical personnel were forced to place the dislocation back into place. Cooper said Holness was "oriented, alert and could remember everything" about the Monarchs game up until the point that he collapsed and starting seizing.
Holness is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his shoulder Monday. The timetable for the shoulder injury alone is a minimum of 4-to-6 weeks, Cooper added.
"It gives us a good timeline to not rush into anything too much with the seizure activity and to make sure we get the experts involved," he said.
Holness released a statement through the club Monday after he returned to Rio Tinto Stadium and the RSL locker room.
"Obviously, my debut never turned out the way I hoped, but I'm just grateful to be alive and I thank God for that fact," he wrote.
The RSL rookie went on to thank everyone involved Saturday night, including his teammates, St. Louis FC players, the medical staff at the stadium and at the hospital as well as fans and well-wishers.
"You really warmed my heart," he wrote. "Just know that I'll be back soon."