Haitian Inspiration Tour

10/19/11 Members of Team Zayren – the Haitian amputee soccer team – conduct a soccer clinic for wounded American service members (from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda) Wednesday afternoon at the Rockville Sportsplex.

The team is cosponsored by Project Medishare and the Knights of Columbus, and most of the players lost limbs in the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and caused extensive damage throughout Haiti.

The “Haitian Inspiration Tour” brings amputee soccer clinics to wounded American service members who have lost limbs in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

More than 200,000 people died in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the American military quickly stepped in to provide emergency relief and provide security when the local government’s ability to provide basic services collapsed. Project Medishare, based at the University of Miami’s medical school, immediately set up a large field hospital near the Port-au-Prince airport and provided around-the-clock emergency medical care for eight months after the earthquake.

In the aftermath of the quake, the Knights of Columbus joined with Project Medishare to provide prosthetic limbs for every Haitian child who suffered an amputation or disabling injury requiring long term care in the disaster, and the Knights funded construction of a modern prosthetics and orthotics facility at Project Medishare’s Hospital Bernard Mev in downtown Port-au-Prince.  There, hundreds of children and adult amputees have been provided with prosthetic limbs over the past 18 months. Likewise, many children with long term disability are also receiving the much needed care that did not exist prior to the earthquake.

Team Zaryen was formed after the 2010 earthquake, to help amputees rebuild their lives and to help remove the stigma associated with being an amputee or disabled in Haitian society.

During October, they will offer their gratitude for the military’s assistance to Haiti, and share their enthusiasm for amputee soccer with American service members who face similar challenges following their traumatic injuries.

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