Amputees in Mexico find relief on the football pitch

In Mexico, football isn't just a sport. It's also a much needed distraction for many who face hardships.

At age fifteen, Abel Mora lost his leg to cancer. A resident of Ecatepec, one of Mexico City’s most impoverished districts, life has not been easy for the amputee.

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“It was extremely hard. No one in my family knew how to handle the situation,” he explained. “And Mexico City is not a place that is well equipped for people like me.”

But two years ago he discovered The Panthers, a soccer team for amputees like him. He now captains the team in Mexico’s amputee national soccer league.

“I know a lot of people in my situation, how they get depressed and simply remain at home,” he said as he took a break from his Saturday morning training session. “That was never an option for me. I’m an accountant and I run my own business, but I have always loved football. And it has been important to be able to share the experience with others like me.”

Amputees are not uncommon in Mexico. Every year, an estimated 1,5000 men lose limbs from medical complications or work-related accidents.

Life can be hard for the disabled in Mexico City. The capital is not well equipped to deal with their needs, and many often feel rejected by society as they struggle to find work.