Ivaylo Yordanov: I continued to play football despite multiple sclerosis

Ivaylo Yordanov: I continued to play football despite multiple sclerosis
Ivaylo Yordanov: I continued to play football despite multiple sclerosis

Ivaylo Yordanov is from the glorious generation in Bulgarian football, which reached the bronze medal at the World Championship in the USA in 1994. Ivaylo was born on April 22, 1968 in Samokov. He played as a right midfielder and striker for "Rila Sportsist", "Lokomotiv" (Gorna Oryahovitsa) and the Portuguese "Sporting" Lisbon. He became Bulgaria's top scorer in 1991 with 21 goals. He was the champion of Portugal in 2000 with Sporting, and also won the Portuguese Cup in 1995 and the Portuguese Super Cup in 1995 and 2000. He made his debut for the national team on May 28, 1991 against Brazil, he has 51 matches and 4 goals. In 1998, as a player of Sporting, Ivaylo Yordanov became Bulgaria's Footballer of the Year. The famous football player honored the premiere of a book dedicated to his generation in the national team - "17 steps to immortality" by BNR journalist Diyan Nikiforov. At the event, Ivaylo Yordanov was kind enough to answer MyClinic's questions.

Mr. Yordanov, did you have any injuries left after you ended your football career?

- To my joy, I have no injuries from football. I only have one meniscus surgery that doesn't cause me any problems now. It happened at the end of my football career. But I have had enough of the other major disease that I was diagnosed with in 1997 - multiple sclerosis. I think the disease is not due to sports. Two years before I was diagnosed, I was in a very bad accident that broke my vertebra in two places. So I don't have injuries from sports, but from life I do.

Perhaps the multiple sclerosis appeared after the stress you experienced in the accident?

- I guess it's from the stress, although it's been two years and then the disease appeared. My personal opinion is that the reason is exactly the stress I experienced in the accident. But unfortunately, this has not been conclusively proven by science.

How did you heal your broken vertebrae?

- The Bulgarian doctors in "Pirogov" wanted to put me in a plaster cast. But at that time I was playing for Sporting Lisbon. The club came and took me to Portugal to treat me. I was immobile in bed for a month. I was being rehabilitated at the same time so that my leg muscles would not atrophy and so that I could return to the field as quickly as possible.

They then made me a special corset

to protect my back and prevent any trouble during the matches.

How many months did you manage to recover?

- At six months I was already playing in matches.

This is amazing. But if you had been lying in a bed of plaster, what would have happened?

- Maybe my return to football would have been delayed, my muscles would have atrophied and my recovery would have been much more complicated. There was no telling if I would ever get back into the game. But I'm glad I didn't become disabled because there was such a possibility. With broken vertebrae, the situation is very serious, there is a risk of affecting the bone marrow.

And did the accident in Bulgaria happen?

- Yes, it was here.

How are you coping with multiple sclerosis? By appearance, one cannot tell at all that you have any disease

- You probably know that multiple sclerosis cannot be cured by modern medicine. It's a chronic illness I've had since 1997. I'm on medication.

Who is your attending physician who monitors your condition?

- My treating doctor is in Portugal.

Do you not trust the Bulgarian doctors?

- This is not the case. I guess it's like that with any disease - when a doctor starts treating you from the beginning, it should be like that until the end. Because he knows my condition from the first moment until now. This is the reason I still have the same doctor to this day. When he decides, we change the medication. Many people ask me how I treat myself. I just answer them that

whatever the doctor tells me, that's what I do

Because he knows best, he has studied and goes to conventions and seminars. I do not seek other methods of treatment myself. So whatever the doctor thinks is best for my he alth, that's what I do. My treating doctor is Joal Dassa and he works at the Santa Maria Clinic in Lisbon. I have trusted him for almost 18 years.

Haven't you been tempted to look for some alternative methods of treatment for multiple sclerosis?

- This is a disease of the nervous system for which I do not know what alternative methods can help. I don't want to risk any unproven methods though. Although I respect folk medicine. It really helps with some diseases. But for multiple sclerosis specifically, I'm not sure and wouldn't risk it. I will not believe anyone who tells me: "Take this and you will be cured", because I know that there is de facto no cure for this. It is very speculative when someone says they are cured of multiple sclerosis.

The important thing is that you feel good, right?

- Yes, I maintain myself. I'm fine.

What are you doing now?

- I am still a scout of "Sporting". But this year my contract expires and I will see from the summer what I will do. I live in both Portugal and Bulgaria. I travel often. My entire conscious life was spent in Lisbon. I left when I was 22 and now I'm almost 47.

You probably still haven't read the book "17 Steps to Immortality" dedicated to the national football team you played for?

- No, the author, Diyan Nikiforov, gave it to me now. Only one thing we can regret is that what my generation of footballers did in the national team, Bulgarian football as a whole did not use it to continue and strengthen it, so that the next generations could become even better.

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