Raúl Sánchez, facing violence from a wheelchair
Although one of the unwritten maxims of football says that what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch, sometimes this is not the case. It can’t be like that. Raúl Sánchez is one of the examples. His life changed radically when at the end of a veterans’ football game, a player from the rival team, who had been sent off, entered the field of play and kicked him in the back, leaving him a quadriplegic. “An assault changed my life forever. Eight months admitted to a hospital, several operations and rehabilitation for life. The kick caused me tetraplegia at the C3, C4 level and a partial rupture of the spinal cord. to be a person
totally independent, who practiced sports and had a normal job, I happened to be at home without being able to move or do anything, depending on an assistant. Everything completely changed. Like from night to day, ”explains Sánchez.
The fatal event occurred on April 26, 2014. Now, seven years later, the trial has just been held, which is pending sentencing and in which the aggressor faces a sentence of between 9 and 12 years in prison. It was the first time since then that both saw each other again and that put an end to Sánchez’s toughest stage, in which has lost almost all the mobility of his body and has had to readjust to a totally dependent life.
Raúl Sánchez could have sunk into a depression but his great resilience kept him more alive than ever. “I don’t have the strength to give up,” he says on his WhatsApp profile and proves it with facts. He began contacting schools, organizations and sports clubs to to be able to explain its history and raise awareness among all people, especially boys and girls, that the practice of sport must be an act of civility and that peers and rivals must be treated with respect. Even starred in a documentary (April 26. Play again), directed by Guillermo Cruz, in which he tries to raise awareness against violence in sport.
“The little ones are surprised. They see you in the chair, they see that you can’t do anything and they don’t even ask. The older ones look at you and you can tell they are worried. For example, the mother of a boy who I saw very affected explained to me that he had quarreled with another before seeing me and they had given him a six-match ban, ”he details about his experience in the talks he offers. On the occasion of the international day of spinal cord injury, in 2018, Raúl Sánchez held a meeting with a delegation from Espanyol. Rubi, Víctor Sánchez, Granero, Mario Hermoso, Javi López and David López were very interested in his case.
The ex-soccer player’s life has given a 180 degree turn but now he dedicates it to making young people aware of the risks of violence in sport. «I want to change the mentality of the people who go to football. I believe that I can be useful to society if I focus my activity towards social work. Just with someone who plays football rethinking his aggressive attitude on the field when he remembers what happened to me, it’s something, “he says convinced. “Football is not bad for children. What is bad is the attitude of some people. The clubs must do training courses, give talks to parents to see how they should behave… », he insists.