Iraqi violence-survivors with disabilities find solace in football

Iraqi violence-survivors with disabilities find solace in football

Team started playing 2 years ago after an idea was floated on social media

By Haydar Karaalp

BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraqis who have lost limbs due to the war are finding solace in playing football with a team comprising amputees.

These individuals are working to overcome their traumatic experiences by participating in the sport they love.

Despite enduring injuries resulting from the US occupation and attacks by Daesh/ISIS terrorist group, Iraqi war survivors remain unwavering in their passion for football.

Having come together in the capital city of Baghdad two years ago, these victims of violence are finding new purpose in their unique amputee football team.


- Impact of injuries

Sadek Juma, 35, sustained leg injuries during clashes between the Mahdi Army, a militia group affiliated with the Iraqi Shia Sadr Movement, and US soldiers between 2007 and 2008.

"I sustained injuries in my left leg due to bombings while I was working at the market during the clashes between the Mahdi Army and American soldiers,” Juma told Anadolu.

Following medical interventions, he said: “My left leg became shorter than my right. The disparity between my legs disrupted my life. Due to this leg issue, I became hesitant to attend events such as family gatherings or weddings."

Juma, who had not left his house for a long time, heard about the amputee football team and decided to become its member.

It was a desire to escape his trauma, he said, adding that playing football helped him regain a sense of well-being, allowing him to socialize with friends once more.

"I've been a part of this team for two years. We secured third place in the Asian Cup. I played in the defense during the cup and delivered a commendable performance. We also participated in a cup held in Türkiye and achieved numerous triumphs," the footballer said.


- Disabled but determined

Ali Jabbar, the referee for the amputee football team, said that the team took shape two years ago.

In its early stages, the team encountered several challenges.

With a sense of contentment about overseeing the team of violence survivors, Jabbar said: "I observe that those who participate in this team demonstrate the same determination as players without disabilities."


- Amputee Team Syndicate

Mohammed Adnan, the head of the Amputee Team Syndicate, created the amputee football team by uniting players who suffered injuries during the terrorist organization Daesh/ISIS attacks.

Adnan himself lost a leg during his military service.

Adnan, who later obtained his PhD in London, was familiar with a similar football team operating there. "Before losing my leg, I frequently played football matches. During my time in London, I played for a disabled team for four years, gaining valuable experience," he told Anadolu.

Upon returning to Iraq, Adnan aimed to establish a similar team and organization in Iraq, given the prevalence of war and terrorism victims in the country.

He used social media to announce his intentions and received a substantial feedback from Baghdad and other cities.

Evaluating the received requests, Adnan formed the syndicate, which now stands as an internationally recognized team and organization.


*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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