Mihai Nesu – In premiera

Here is a short post, in addition to the Mihai Nesu Page. Antena 3 is one of the Romanian Tv Channels that shows the truly important aspects and realistic situation of life in our country, and the “In Premiere” show, hosted by Carmen Avram, winner of The AIB’s International Jury Highly Commends for “The Poisoned City” documentary, has just released today’s episode, in regard to Mihai Nesu’s situation.

And here are the long promised translations. However, due to various restrictions, we are unable to provide them directly on the video. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we do believe that this documentary offers valuable information about a real life experience and it’s important to understand everything in it, so our apologies once again. Also, if you live in Netherlands, we envy you. Our utmost admiration for countries like Netherlands, that attained such a high level of understanding disabilited people’s needs. We certainly hope our country will reach this level too some day. The parts with italic font are reporters’ narrations. The parts that were already in English in the original weren’t copied here, they are marked with “(…)”.

To have the power to go on even if you can no longer make another step. It’s about hope and survival. It’s about Mihai Nesu. His story impressed millions of people, football fans or not, but even more impressive is the power with which he succeeded turning his own tragedy into a challenge. A team of the show “In Premiere” spent a few days in Utrecht with Mihai Nesu. And now, we have the honour to present to you the story of a great fighter.

Mihai Nesu: It was… a normal day. The training was like usual. It’s just… it was that split second that was different. And it changed the whole future.

I only know that after some exercises with a new teammate I couldn’t feel my body anymore. How come I ended up in that situation, I don’t know. I didn’t lose consciousness, I just had some breathing problems, but I was conscious until I reached the surgery room, when they put me to sleep… It’s strange to end up in a situation where you don’t feel your body anymore. I didn’t thought of the seriousness of the accident at that moment. Only when I was out of surgery I realised that this is something serious. I realised from the way I felt. And, of course, they told me the diagnosis too and what they were expecting. But it was pretty serious, much more serious than it is now. And then… I was a bit sad but… little by little we got used to the situation. It simply happened… and now I can only search for what there is to repair from what has been broken.

Mihai Nesu, 9 months and 8 days after the accident that changed his future plans, is smiling and seemingly slightly at ease. A little embarassed, he apologises for not being able to make the coffee for us himself. And he tells us he is sorry he didn’t make more progress with the recovery so he can brag about it.

M. N.: The right hand, I can move it, but the fingers are moving from the spasms, I’m not the one moving them…

Reporter: But you were moving them…

M.N.: No, it’s from the biceps. The biceps is the only muscle I can control and there is this slight rotation from the forearm… Sure, there is also the shoulder… but the shoulder… I can’t raise it up more than this.

R.: Yes, but it’s still…

M. N.: Sure, it’s much more than the doctors expected and it’s a good thing… Now I can raise even my left hand a bit. Probably… I don’t know… maybe in 3-4 years it will be like the other one.

He was told that progress is made slowly and with small steps but he dreams about the day when he will be like he used to. For now, it’s just a dream.

M. N.: I’ve never dreamed myself in this situation. I continue dreaming myself normal, moving a hand or playing football… Leading a normal life…

Today, he talks little, detached about his accident, as if it were someone else’s bad dream. He doesn’t have many memories of the accident or maybe he tries to chase them away. On th contrary, he remembers very well what happened after that and how the feelings of others came over him, of those who seemed to take upon themselves the guilt for this tragedy.

Five days after the accident, the players from FC Utrecht were entering the stadium wearing T-shirts with Nesu’s photo on them. The whole stadium chanted his name. An enormous Romanian flag covered the grass, as a sign of respect and support towards the Romanian football player. Visibly affected, Alje Schut, the player that injured Nesu, simply couldn’t enter the stadium. At that moment he was already under psychological therapy and only thanks to that he continued playing. Only much later he had the courage to go see Nesu, even though Mihai isn’t angry with him… or maybe in the meantime, he learned to forgive.

M. N.: Now, we must continue our lives, it happened, no one is happy for what happened and we must try to get over it and… our relationship is normal.

R.: But he was feeling guilty, right?

M. N.: Yeah… I don’t know… That’s what I think… I an accident like this there is no way you won’t feel guilty… I just think that in this situation… I’m the one that remained to suffer and I just have to start all over again.

After 195 days he was released from hospital. Starting November, he stays at home and spends most of his time watching TV or talking on the phone. He’s proud of his invention. The idea came to him when he was at the recovery clinic.

M. N.: I was very bored when I didn’t have therapy sessions. It was sunny and nice outside and I was mostly sitting inside. I kept looking out the window, at the sky and the sun, at the bicycles passing by and at the cars on the street and since I had an IPhone I thought – I had this pen too, for the touch screen – if I could use it so I asked my wife to bring it over and see how it works. The guys from the technical department at the clinic made me a device to hold the phone. They also made me a longer pen.

That’s how he keeps in touch with his friends, surfs the Internet and chases the dark thoughts away, he says. Those moments when he doesn’t feel complete anymore.

M. N.: I can’t say I have a specific thing that I miss. Of course, I miss walking, moving my hands, using them. In two words, “being independent”, I think that’s what I miss the most.

Since he is in a wheelchair, his favorite place is next to a heater. He always feels like it’s cold in the house and feels at ease sitting there. Soon he will re-equip his house according to his needs, a thing absolutely normal in Netherlands, where the state gives a lot of attention to the people with special needs. It wasn’t by chance that several months ago, Mihai Nesu made a shocking declaration in “Gazeta Sporturilor” (tr. N.: “Sports’ Gazette”, Romanian sports newspaper): “Some people in Romania think of me as a vegetable. But a vegetable like me, here in Netherlands, is manager in a company.”.

The man he was referring to is a real person, his friend Erwin, the one who gave him the force to fight.

It’s Saturday, so the whole family gathered for breakfast. Erwin, his wife and the three little girls. A happy family. Erwin watches with amusement the game of the twins. You can see the joy and the happiness to live every moment on his face. It’s hard to believe that this man is completely paralised below his neck for over 20 years.


He couldn’t move his hands and legs but he managed to finish University. Then, in 2000, he met Marlene.


After that he was employed in a company as a public relations coordinator. Now he is a marketing manager and a key-man in the company. He feels useful, part of a society that never looked down on him.

His house is a technological paradise. With just a push on a button on his wheelchair, he adjusts the temperature in the room, switches on the lights, opens the doors, turns on the DVD or the TV set. He can do whatever he wishes.


In the bedroom, he adjusts the height of his bed on his own. The bathroom has an elevator that helps him take a shower. If he wants to go upstairs, in the girls’ rooms, to read the a bedtime story, he takes the elevator. Only after the girls are asleep, Erwin can sit down in front of the computer. He uses some glasses, without lenses, but with a laser device that helps him type letters.


For somebody in Romania, those images are from a SF movie. In Netherlands, this is something absolutely normal for someone in a wheelchair.


What is more, people like Erwin stay in touch with the recovery centre that nurse them. They are called whenever new people are admitted, to boost the patient’ confidence through their personal example. This happened in the case of Mihai Nesu.


Erwin knew his story from the TV and he says he was honored to have him in his house.


M. N.: I think he is the ideal life model for a person in this situation, I don’t think there are a lot of people who can accomplish what he accomplished, me neither, I don’t think that I could start all over like he did.

And yet, he did start from scratch. Erwin’s story gave hi a bit of power, like he gathers power from all the encouraging messages he receives, on Facebook, in newspapers, on TV… We brought some messages from our colleagues, gathered in a notebook. Mihai wanted to read the message from Mircea Badea (tr. N.: Romanian TV show man) first: “Let’s promise each other that in this lifetime we will walk around the Herastrau (tr. N.: park in Bucharest) and we’ll laugh about it after that.”

R.: …And I would also like to read you a message from a man you never met before, he is a director of broadcasting at Antena 1 and Antena 3 (tr. N.: Romanian  TV channels), he says: “I was at the buttons in the transmission car when you had spectacular games and I will be there when you come back.”.

He also admits that he cried a few days ago when he watched the match Steaua vs. Twente.

Stadium Voice: Let’s hear some applause and al our kind thoughts for our stelist, Mihaita Nesu!

M. N.: I talked with a boy from the audience and I asked him if they did this for me, what are they going to do for those who deserve this, for Lacatus or others… Doing this for me, I feel like I received a lot, I wasn’t expecting them to do such a thing. When I look at those images I feel like crying again.

He came prepared the next day at the FC Utrecht Stadium. He was feeling like there was something in it for him.

Today, Mihai is 29 years old. He has over 20000 guests, Dutch fans who came to watch the match between FC Utrecht and AZ Alcmar, but above all, to show Mihai that they will never forget him. He watched the junior game scheduled before the main game from the box and he talked almost non-stop on the phone.

M. N.: Thanks, you too, good luck down there. We’ll talk, bye, thanks for the call, bye.

Before the accident, Mihai was the coach for the children at FC Utrecht. Now Alje Schut is in charge of them, the teammate involved in the accident. That was his wish. And in the centre, today we have Mircea Nesu, Mihai Nesu’s father, former international referee. He hasn’t done this in over 20 years and he is visibly nervous. Especially since this time, his son, sitting in a wheelchair, will watch him from the audience.

R.: He’s strong. How about you?

Mircea Nesu: I try, I try to be… Maybe my age doesn’t help much… I get nervous more easily, but I try too, to be as strong as I can. If I see fim being strong, then we must be too, the ones around him.

In the box, Mihai finds out with disappointment that his friend, George Ogararu can’t make it in time for the game. Without knowing that George was already on the field, among the children trained Nesu trained, a surprise he had been preparing for a long time.

George: Don’t lose confidence and faith, keep hoping and fighting to get over this moment. I see it as just a moment.

The game ended with a “handball” score: 10-1 for the children from FC Utrecht, who dedicated their victory to their favorite coach. Wearing the number 3 on his T-shirt like his coach, Hans sends him an important message.

Hans: (…)

And the former coach was proud of them at the end.

M. N.: Considering that the children that I was coaching are playing on the big field with 11 people for the first time, I think they did rather well.

He was also pleased with his father as a referee.

M.N.: Unbelievably good! I hope he doesn’t get muscle soreness so he can still take care of me.

In the meantime, the fans were arriving at the stadium for the big game. For the big show on Mihai’s birthday.

It’s a party mood, the whole city gathered to wish Nesu: “Happy Birthday!”. The Romanian football player’s story has visibly changed Dutch people feelings towards Romania. Our flag gets sold out like before a national team’s match and an entire stadium is waving it with pride. Each one of them knows that the money from the sellings will go to Nesu’s foundation.


At the stadium entrance, volunteers are gathering donations for the foundation. In the stands, the crowd is shouting the Romania player’s name.

The Dutch newspapers say that such an emotional moment had happened on the FC Utrecht Stadium only 7 years ago, when David Di Tommaso died from a heart attack, only 26 years old. Now the history repeats itself for our Romanian.


The next day, dressed up elegantly, with a bow tie and a Hollywood star smile, Mihai enters the stadium o the red carpet. His most beautiful dream after the accident is comes true. It’s the official opening of the foundation that will help Romanian people in dramatic situations. Over 200 important people are invited to the gala.

In a few moments, club teammates appear too. Enters the captain, Alje Schut. A short, manly embrace and a slightly guilty look. Mihai has a knowing smile. And his face is joyful. Touching hand shakes and hugs. This evening he is happy and maybe he forgot that he is also in a wheelchair. His dream sprouts wings and along with it, Mihai, the fighter, knows for sure that he can go on. Anyway and anywhere.

M. N.: Let’s try to give an impulse to the creation of a better life for disabled people and making their every day life easier.

At a more secluded table, Alje Schut accepts to talk to us about Mihai Nesu.


He will always be there for him, he promises. So do his teammates and other friends who left for other clubs.


The night of the gala, from auctions and donations, a sum of over 70 000 euros was gathered. The T-shirt Nesu wore in his last match was purchased for 1000 euros by the wife of the FC Utrecht’s owner. Part of the money will go to Oradea for the equipment of a recovery centre for children in a wheelchair. You could say that Mihai already made his first big step after the accident. Surely the step that will help him go on, with or without a wheelchair. A big act from a man who understood happiness in the harshest possible way.

M. N.: I think people realise only when they have a health problem or a severe problem that it’s the most important thing in life.

In his elegant house in Utrecht, Mihai makes future plans. For himself and for others like him. Now his suffering isn’t so important anymore. It’s the suffering of thousands of people that he never met but whose feelings he knows. If one of them will get better, then he will get a bit better too. Retired suddenly, too early from the football field, Mihai Nesu starts only now his most important match. And he does it with his head raised high, with optimism and with a smile on his face.

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