Chapecoense Survivor Wants to Compete in Paralympic Games

A survivor of the Chapecoense plane crash has stated that he wants to represent Brazil at the Paralympic Games. The former goalkeeper for the team, Jackson Follmann who survived the plane crash revealed to media upon visiting the Brazilian Paralympic Committee that he wants to play for Brazil at a future Paralympic Games.

Follman survived last November’s plane crash as one of just six people to survive the tragic incident. Since then he has had to have his right leg amputated, and still has his left leg in a cast as he continues to receive treatment.

After months in a wheelchair Follman has had his prosthetic leg fitted and is back on his feet walking again with the help of a physiotherapist. That has got his competitive juices flowing again and, now unable to play for Chapecoense, he finds himself looking at the Paralympic Games.

Follman has spoken about wanting to get back to a normal life, including marrying his girlfriend, and part of Follman’s normal life includes playing football. With that in mind he said to the media that he would like to play football at the Paralympic Games.

Unfortunately for Follman, amputee football is not currently a Paralympic sport with the closest being 7-a-side football. That is open to athletes with neurological impairments, most especially Cereberal Palsy, and while nominally the FT8 classification could classify Follman as he does have an obvious impairment that has impacted football, an amputation would not meet the other eligibility criteria needed, depending on if he’d sustained any neurological injuries due to the plane crash.

That would not necessarily disqualify Follman from the Paralympic Games as a number of Paralympians came to their Paralympic Sport after competing in a different sport before their impairment. The most notable is Zahra Nemati who competed in Taekwondo before her car accident that left her in a wheelchair and saw her transition to archery which she was able to compete in at both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Rio last year.

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