THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vysakh S R was just 13 when he went through the most traumatic experience for a footballer. He lost his right leg in a road accident. Fate could only take away his leg, not his passion for the Beautiful Game. Now, he’s 21. Aided by crutches, he still kicks a football and his life has a new meaning too. Vysakh is on the lookout for more people like him to assemble a team of amputees. “I have talked to eight people into playing, but many were reluctant at first,” he said.
“Most of them have been playing before they became handicapped. But they had lost hope in life and lacked the confidence to do something like that again,” ysakh, a native of Perambra in Kozhikode, said. A quick recap of the tragedy, now. Vysakh was on his way to attend a football selection trials when the bike he was pillion-riding hit a KSRTC bus. Doctors did not have any other option but to amputate his leg. But he wasn’t dispirited. After spending a year on the bed, Vysakh returned to play cricket and shuttle with his friends - this time on a wheelchair. “At first, it was complicated. But practice made it perfect,” he recalled. After finishing school, he joined St Joseph’s College, Devagiri, also the birth place of the idea of forming a football team for amputees.
“It was my physical education teachers Riyaz and Prasanth who suggested the idea a year ago,” Vysakh said. Vysakh got in touch with A M Kishore, state president of the Physically Challenged All Sports Association, who advised him to start recruitment. Kishore also asked him to take up other sports like volleyball.
Vysakh captained Kerala in the 2015 National Sitting Volleyball Championship for the Physically Challenged. He also represented India in the standing volleyball at the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Cup in Colombo in January 2016. “What Vysakh is doing can have an impact at the national level. Though football for the blind and for those with cerebral palsy is being held, there was no effort to conduct a tournament for footballers with orthopedic impairment,” said Kishore. “In Kerala, we have active participation in archery, cricket, swimming, volleyball and powerlifting for the physically challenged. We will form our state amputee football team and then request other state associations to form their own teams and start a national championship,” Kishore said. For all this, Vysakh draws energy from football. “I have seen videos of amputee football teams in Europe and they even have a professional league for them in some countries. If all of them can have it, why can’t we?”