Using Soccer to Build Strength and Acceptance


The European Football Championships, which will run from June 10 to July 10, will be closely followed by fans of European soccer across the world. Handicap International’s teams are using the event to highlight how playing soccer, or another sport can help restore some of the mobility and self-esteem of lower-limb amputees.

Isabelle Urseau, a rehabilitation specialist at Handicap International, explains that “in many of the health care centers supported by Handicap International, ball games, particularly soccer, play a central role in the rehabilitation of patients with a lower-limb amputation. In terms of physical therapy, ball exercises help patients with artificial limbs gain confidence in their orthopedic device and their new form of mobility. We start with a step, then a pass, some dribbling and maybe even a match on crutches.

"It has an even bigger impact on their morale: the exercises are more entertaining and easy to follow because it’s a game. The youngest patients realize they can still have fun with their friends.”