DIRECTV W Connection forward and former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team player Dwight Quintero finally underwent surgery on his right ankle yesterday, after a near two-month stand off between the player, his relatives and attorney and a Connection contingent that included Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and ex-Connection chairman David John-Williams.
The operation was conducted on Saturday April 2 by Dr David Santana of the Caribbean Body Sculpture clinic in St Augustine.
Quintero had reconstructive ligament surgery and screws inserted into his foot. The initial prognosis was the forward, who helped Central FC to their maiden Pro League title last year, should be back on his feet within three months.
However, he will take an X-ray on Friday for a more accurate timeline.
Quintero’s mother, Lesley Ann Quintero, aunt, Tamara Fournillier, uncle, Rojér Fournillier, and girlfriend, Darnelle Mejias, were at the player’s side for the operation.
“The doctor said everything went very well,” said Quintero’s aunt, Nathalie Fournillier-Reyes, who is based in the United States. “They put in screws in his foot… His recovery is dependent on how his body responds to the whole thing. They are returning on Friday to remove the stitches and take an X-ray.”
Fournillier-Reyes said her nephew was relieved to have undergone the procedure and is anxious to resume his professional career. However, there is still anxiety as to what the operation might mean for his future in the game.
“My sister said the first thing he said after waking up from the procedure was: Am I going to play football again?” Fournillier-Reyes told Wired868. “He fell back asleep before they could answer and then he woke up and asked the same question again.
“When I spoke to him, I could hear the relief in his voice. The anaesthesia had worn out and he was in pain. But it sounded like I was talking to a new person and I could tell a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders.
“He is delighted that this is behind him and he is looking forward to a full recovery. He can’t wait to start physical therapy.”
Quintero has already received an email from Connection chairperson Renee John-Williams, which enquired about his condition and wished him a speedy recovery.
The sentiments were welcomed but, according to Fournillier-Reyes, also raised eyebrows within “Team Quintero” in the wake of a two month saga between the two parties. The family had complained that his employers showed a lack of care for the gifted attacker during his darkest moments.
Connection assistant coach, Earl Jean, insisted that the technical staff would welcome the former El Dorado East Secondary student back into their ranks.
“It is good to know the operation was successful because that was the most important thing,” said Jean. “Whatever issues the club had with Dwight and his attorney and aunt or whatever, he is our player. And Dwight is a player that we always wanted in our club.
“We don’t have any issues with Dwight and, once he wants to work with us, we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Quintero was injured at a Connection training session on 2 February 2016 and was urged to operate immediately by Dr Sergiy Adonin, a specialist orthopaedic surgeon from the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic in St Clair.
However, Connection were slow to respond to messages from Quintero’s relatives and attorney Fulton Wilson, then insisted on a second opinion by TTFA medic Dr Terrence Babwah—which matched the initial diagnosis—before the TTFA President, acting on behalf of the club, refused to pay on the grounds of unspecified “grey areas.”
By his involvement, John-Williams arguably broke a campaign promise to not involve himself in Connection business, so as to avoid a conflict of interest between his two posts.
Connection reversed its stance on paying for Quintero’s operation within hours of the story going public on the Wired868 website on March 24. And the operation was eventually done on April 2.
Quintero and his relatives are said to be very nervous as to the possible ramifications of the lengthy delay in having the operation.
Dwight Quintero timeline
February 2: Quintero hobbles out of a W Connection training session and is taken to the hospital by his cousin, after a club official dropped him to meet his relative.
February 5: Dr Sergiy Adonin declares that the injury is serious and “likely to need surgery as soon as possible.” He recommends “urgent pre-operative on the right ankle” to determine the extent of the injury and “an orthotic device as soon as possible.”
Quintero’s attorney, Fulton Wilson, forwards the information to Connection chairperson Renee John-Williams, who is the daughter of the TTFA president. Frustrated by an inability to reach club officials, Quintero’s family paid the medical costs incurred thus far.
February 8: The Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic gives Quintero an invoice for the necessary medical procedures, which totalled TT$48,700. This is also forwarded to Connection. Again, according to Team Quintero, there is no response.
February 15: W Connection finally makes an official response, as Renee requests a second opinion with a doctor of the club’s choice, Dr Terence Babwah.
February 25: Dr Babwah recommends surgery for Quintero and explains: “Due to the diastasis of the tibia and fibula he should see the orthopaedic surgeon again, (he) may need a screw to hold bones together.”
Quintero’s attorney sends diagnosis to Renee but, again, there is no response.
February 29: Quintero has a review consultation at the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic and is advised to undergo surgery by a third doctor, Dr Derrick Lousaing. The Clinic advises the Connection employee to operate between March 4 and 9 when their foot and ankle surgeon would be in the country.
March 1: Renee says, via email, that Dr Lousaing’s diagnosis is “duly noted” and advises she is on maternity leave and is handing the matter over to her father and the TTFA president.
March 8: On the day before the operation, Quintero’s attorney emails the TTFA president and urges him to take responsibility for the pending medical bill in keeping with clause eight of the player’s contract.
John-Williams refuses to do so in an emailed response: “Dear Sir, unless we have a discussion about this matter we cannot accept responsibility for paying the proposed bill. There are a lot of grey areas to be clarify (sic). I am prepared to meet as early as tomorrow to sort out the grey areas.”
March 14: The two parties still have not met and Quintero’s attorney vents his frustration: “The injury was sustained when he was working for W Connection and the clause said ‘we will take care of all medical cases’. There is no question in my mind that they have breached their contract with the player…
“What are the grey areas when a player sustains an injury while with the club and needs medical attention? They are throwing red herrings.”
March 24: Wired868 runs the first in an exclusive two-part series on Connection’s refusal to pay for Quintero’s operation. Within a few hours, Renee emails player’s attorney—at 9.24 am—and says the club: “has been working to have Dwight’s surgery scheduled with Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr David Santana who is available at 9 am next Tuesday 29th March…”
March 25: Wired868 runs the second and final part of its exclusive series on Quintero’s impasse with the club, which reveals emails from both parties including TTFA president John-Williams.
April 2: Quintero undergoes surgery on his right ankle at the Caribbean Body Sculpture Ltd.
April 3: Connection assistant coach Earl Jean assures Wired868 that Quintero would be welcomed back at the club with open arms, as soon as he is fit to return.