One-armed soccer player gives Paraguayans a lesson in faith

Julio Gonzalez
Julio Gonzalez

.- Four months ago Julio Gonzalez surprised all of Paraguay when he returned to the soccer field after having one of his arms amputated.  Since returning, he says that he was able to overcome all of his obstacles because of his faith in God.

In December of 2005, Gonzalez, a 24 year-old player on an Italian soccer team, was asked to play on the Paraguayan national team for the 2006 World Cup.  However, while he was on his way to the airport in Venice to catch a flight back to Asuncion for the Christmas holidays, he was in a serious car accident and ended up losing his left arm.

“God blessed me with soccer, a family, healthy kids, he allowed me to go to Italy, and to play in most important soccer league in Italy and all that time I never asked him why.  When I was in the hospital I said to myself, “Why do I have to ask God why?  I should accept what is happening to me and take everything in the most positive way possible,” he said in an interview with the Peruvian daily “El Comercio.”

“The accident changed my mentality.  Now I love life more than ever, I learned that it’s not worth it to fight for material things, like I did before.  What matters to me now are my kids, my health, the simple and essential things,” he said.

Just a year ago Gonzalez was not able to move what remained of his amputated left arm. “I had an operation, however, and I am getting better.  Now I can take care of myself, I can get dressed, I can eat, I can drive my car,” he added.

On November 16 of last year he made his official return to soccer in Paraguay.

“Everybody was on their feet applauding,” he recalled.  “It was wonderful, something you don’t see everyday.  I easily cry, and I cried when I was in the tunnel and when I came out on the field.  Still today I don’t have the words to describe that emotion,” Gonzalez said.

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