[OP-ED]: Fabio Pisacane’s amazing story
Have you ever asked yourselves why you follow sports? Why a soccer match can generate pre-game nerves, tension and post-game peace?
I believe sports are a balm to bear with our hectic daily lives. Sports allow us to get emotional and tremble, leaving aside all the labor, family and personal problems that trouble our existence. But sports also bring us great stories that cheer us up, heroic deeds that also lead us to overcome our limitations and improve as human beings. For example, my uncle José used the motivation of Rocky Balboa climbing up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to start exercising. He has finished 13 marathons and has crossed the Acapulco bay six times since.
In the last 10 days, an amazing self-improvement story has gathered most of the attention from the European soccer press and public. It has gained more attention than Leo Messi’s injury, Cristiano Ronaldo substitution, Manchester City leading the England’s Premier League and Paris Saint-Germain’s woes in France.
It is the story of Fabio Pisacane, a defender from Naples who made his debut at Italy’s prime soccer league (Serie A) at the age of 30. The most impressive part of the story is that Pisacane overcame the Guilliam-Barré syndrome, a disease that paralyzes the nerve system and had him in a coma 16 years ago.
When he was only a teenager and was heading to the practice field, the player suddenly could not feel any movement. The prognosis was very serious. At first, his life was threatened. Then, doctors told him he would probably not walk again. Of course, soccer was over for him…
Anyway, Pisacane never stopped fighting. He overcame the coma, left the hospital and started a hard struggle. It was tough for him to stay motivated when he saw his old teammates reaching soccer’s elite. In 2004, he started playing in all sorts of Italian semi-professional leagues and divisions. Finally in 2015, he was signed by Cagliari from Serie B. His squad won the second division championship, earning the right to play in Serie A this season.
After staying on the bench for three games, Pisacane finally started at home against Atalanta, making his first division A and seeing his long-time dream come true. Cagliari won easily, 3-0, and he was on the field for 79 minutes. As an anecdote, he was cautioned with a yellow card.
The post game press conference will never be forgotten.
“ I have never given up. Not even for one second. I would never do it”, Pisacane nodded.
He could not finish speaking. A very touched journalist who was handling the microphone to make a question wisely wrapped it up:
“The big lesson of this story is that sports are, above all, humane”, he said.
And they will always be.