News / Americas

Haitian Soccer Amputees Assist Wounded US Soldiers

Parke Brewer

Members of a Haitian amputee soccer team were in Washington this week to conduct clinics for wounded American troops from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  It was the Haitians' way of saying thank you to the U.S. military for providing assistance to Haiti after the devastating earthquake last year.

It’s called the Haitian Inspiration Tour, and nearly all members of the "Team Zaryen" soccer team lost limbs in the 2010 earthquake.  The team's visit is being co-sponsored by a U.S. service group, the Knights of Columbus.

Pat Korten is the group's spokesman and told VOA about the impact the team is having.

"Many of them were playing soccer before the earthquake, before they lost their limbs.  Now they're relearning how to do that, and showing everybody in Haiti," Korten explained. "This is a big deal in Haiti. Everybody's watching.  Everybody knows about this in Haiti.  These guys are ambassadors to the United States this week and everybody is really happy about that."

Life goes on

Team Zaryen’s founder and captain is Wilfried Macena, 27, who lost his right leg in the earthquake.   

“I did not know if I could play soccer anymore when I got physical therapy by Medishare hospital in Haiti, and I felt very confident and used my crutches very well and I saw I could play soccer again,” Macena said.

Zaryen is the Creole word for tarantula and Macena explained the team's special jersey logo.

“One side has four legs.  The other side has three legs.  That means if that spider [tarantula] lost one leg, his life still continues.  You can do everything like you have two legs," he explained.

Got skills?

It was clear the Haitian soccer players are skilled, as they demonstrated a number of drills for the amputees in the U.S. military.

Bradley Ritland, the head of physical therapy for amputees at the Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington, said it was inspiring.

“It’s been an outstanding experience for their team as well as our guys," Ritland said. "I think a lot of our guys see the positive outlook on the patients from Haiti, and see how they’re dealing with their injuries and how through sport they’re able to maintain a positive outlook.”

The Haitian team played an exhibition game here in Washington against the U.S. national amputee soccer team.  For all matches, prosthetics are removed and left on the sideline.  Players use their one good leg and their crutches to move the ball.  Goalkeepers have both legs but only one arm.

Newfound love

Army First Lieutenant Cameron Kerr, who lost part of his left leg in Afghanistan early this year when he stepped on an explosive device (IED), said he played soccer when he was younger and now has a newfound love for the game.

"Especially in those first few months of recovery you come back from Afghanistan, you’re missing a leg or two, or like an arm and two legs, you just don’t know what life is going to hold for you in the future," Kerr said.  "So this is pretty critical, events like this, and adaptive sports like this are instrumental in helping us see what’s possible, and then helping us get there too.  So not only seeing that it’s an option, but really helping us in terms of the training, and the actual fun of playing soccer again."

Kerr added that he and other amputees have to get used to what they call the new normal - that is, realizing that their legs are not going to grow back, and they need to keep pushing ahead and making the best of it.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

FARC Negotiator Killed in Colombian Bombing Raid

Jairo Martinez one of 27 rebels killed last Thursday in Cauca province, in a raid that led FARC to end a unilateral cease-fire
More

Multimedia World Reacts to FIFA Indictments

While some applaud corruption charges, Russia calls on 'Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders'
More

UN: World Hunger Declines, But More Effort Needed

Report finds large progress in some parts of Africa, but notes that sub-Saharan Africa still has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world
More

Maduro Rules Out Dollarizing Venezuela's Economy

Businesses struggle to obtain dollars through current currency system, leaving them unable to import raw materials or replacement parts
More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer
More

Video Galapagos Volcano Eruption Threatens Pink Iguanas

Nearly 1.8 kilometer-high Wolf volcano on Isabela Island is home to world's only population of pink iguanas, as well as variety of plants, animals
More