Monday, March 19, 2018 03:35:04 AM
When Brazilian goalkeeper Jakson Follmann took his first steps since surviving a plane crash that wiped out his football club, he called it a win -- with his hardest ever season just starting.
Follmann was the reserve goalie of Chapecoense, which went from the most feelgood team in football-mad Brazil to a national tragedy.
This was a lowly club that had fought its way to the finals of the regional Copa Sudamericana regional tournament. Then on November 28, almost the whole team was wiped out when the plane flying the players to Medellin, Colombia, for the big game crashed.
Seventy one people died, including the star first choice goalkeeper Danilo. Follmann lost his right leg but was one of six miraculous survivors. Now the athlete, 24, is drawing on all his competitive spirit and discipline to rebuild his life. "My main desire now is to be able to stand up, to walk," he told AFP at the rehab center where he is learning to walk with a prosthetic leg and to overcome multiple other injuries.
Almost three months after the accident he has taken his first unaided steps. There's much more to come. "I want to be able to go alone to the bathroom, to brush my teeth. All the
simple things that people barely notice usually," he said.
Follmann left his home in the southern city of Alecrim when he was just 13, working his way through the gritty lower leagues, but always dreaming of making it to the first division.
The tragic reversal of what had seemed like a fairy tale success has not broken Follmann.
"Crying over this and feeling sorry for myself will not help," he said in a soft voice.
Follmann may be up again, but after several operations and 56 days in hospital every step is filled with pain. Since February he's been doing physiotherapy in Sao Paulo with Doctor Jose Andre Carvalho and his progress has been better than expected.
In addition to losing his right leg below the knee, his left ankle wasbadly injured, he broke several bones and needed an operation on his spine.
It's a battering that has required him to hold back his sportsman's instinct for action.
"When I began taking my first steps without crutches I wanted to go up and
down staircases. My first thought was to do as much as I could, but I know
that for now I can't and that I have to respect my body," he said.
Still, he says that physical challenges are something he's used to and he
follows the doctor's physiotherapy instructions with the kind of
concentration he used to deploy in goal.
"I don't consider myself an ex-athlete. To the contrary: I see myself as
even more of an athlete than before," he said with a laugh.
In the future, he might turn to Paralympic sports, Follmann says. Trying
out wheelchair volleyball made him think that "limitations are all in your
- Dark memories -
Despite his fighting spirit, Follmann prefers to look to the future than
back to the recent past.
For weeks after his accident, he asked family and friends not to talk
about the crash. He did not want to know the details, or to watch television,
where news of the disaster played constantly.
Waking in hospital in Colombia, "I knew something very serious had
happened because I saw I was badly hurt. I realized that the last time I'd
been OK was back in the airplane," he said, with his eyes downcast.
In Colombia "I cried a lot. I was very emotional," he said. "But once I
arrived in Brazil, I began to gather my strength to face things."
MEDIA reports on Saturday said the Myanmar government has started a Rakhinization programme in areas mostly cleared by its Rohingya Muslim residents. It appears they have started the rehabilitation programme with Buddhist Rakhine migrants, picking from the poor segment of the population from around 600 km in the south or ...
Actor Shriya Saran who was recently seen in the Telugu film Gayatri opposite Vishnu Manchu is said to have tied the knot with her long-time Russian boyfriend Andrei Koscheev. According to a report in Mid-Day, a source was quoted as saying, "It was a private affair with only family members ...
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie said she loves 'seeing herself age' as it makes her look more like her mother. The actor said ageing also makes her feel alive. "I look in the mirror and I see that I look like my mother, and that warms me. I also see myself ...
AFP, Stockholm :North Korean officials wrapped up a third day of talks Saturday with Swedish counterparts with no indication their efforts had cleared the way for a mooted nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un.From Washington on Friday, Trump had called his South Korean ...
AFTER the US-Bangla plane crash, the Prime Minister has instructed the Civil Aviation Authorities to give highest priority to flight safety and maintenance of planes. No doubt, it is a timely instruction. Though it is still unclear why the plane was crashed, the survivors said the aircraft was shuddering few ...
Noted Telugu and Tamil actress Surbhi is likely to be part of Tollywood star, Nikhil's upcoming Tollywood movie, as per latest updates. The makers are in talks to rope in the actor for the movie, added reports. The much awaited film is a Telugu remake blockbuster Telugu movie, Kanithan. The ...
AP, Moscow :The gulf between Russia and Britain widened on Friday as they cranked up pressure over a nerve agent attack and a suspected murder in Britain that have deepened Western worries about alleged Russian meddling abroad.Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of ...
STEPHEN Hawking died at Cambridge in England on Monday at the age of 76. A scientific genius who rose to eminence by his work on theoretical physics explaining the system of universe is no more but the scientific world will remember him over the time to come. We join the ...
It has been a gruelling shooting schedule for Parineeti Chopra, who is currently filming for Namaste England. The actress has been pulling off all day long shoots as she is filming an energetic song sequence with her co-star Arjun Kapoor. `It has been insane for Parineeti. She has been dancing ...