The newly formed Haiti Amputee Soccer Team is more determined to inspire others rather than win games. The team is on a U.S. tour, and on Thursday made a stop in Pasadena. Soccer has given the players a rebirth since the earthquake almost a year ago. Now they're hoping to lift up all of the disabled.
Each player tells a compelling story about how he came to rely on forearm crutches after losing a leg or arm. Three of the team's 15 players are among the thousands injured in January's quake.
"When the earthquake happened a big post fell across my leg. I was trapped. My friends found me. They actually took the knife and stabbed my leg below my knee, put me into shock, and then began the process of amputating my leg," said Mackewdy Francois, a player.
Other players lost more than a limb.
"The whole house came down and basically me and my sister are the only ones who survived," said Emmanuel Ladouceur, a goalie who lost an arm.
The players all wondered what the future would be like. Then this summer Fred Sorrells, a doctor from Arlington, organized the country's first amputee soccer team.
"Emmanuel said to me, 'I lost my mom and dad and all my brothers and sisters but one. When I joined amputee soccer team I got a family back," said Dr. Sorrells, president of the International Institute of Sport.
Last month the team competed in their sport's World Cup, representing a country that typically shuns amputees.
"Before I was never selected for any kind of team to go anywhere, but since the amputation I was asked to take part in amputee soccer and got to travel to America," said Ladouceur.
Now the players are determined to be well received when they return to Haiti and to continue raising awareness of adaptive sports. In Pasadena, several wheelchair bound athletes came to watch them practice and hear a message of hope.
"Before I was told all my life I was nobody. Now I realize I'm a somebody because of amputee soccer," one player told the crowd.
If you or someone you know is an amputee in the Houston area and interested in becoming a part of a local amputee soccer team, contact Dr. Fred Sorrells. His phone number is 214-674-6196, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information from KRIV out of Houston visit myfoxhouston.com.