The “Haitian Inspiration Tour,” featuring a group of amputee soccer players from Haiti known as Team Zaryen, visited the New York City area Thursday, Oct. 20 and Friday, Oct. 21 following 3 days in Washington, D.C. There, the team held clinics for wounded American service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and at the facilities of Washington’s professional soccer team, D.C. United.
Team Zaryen was introduced to the crowd at the Major League Soccer game between the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena in Newark, N.J. Before the game, the team staged a demonstration of amputee soccer, which has spread to dozens of countries around the world and is played on crutches. Team Zaryen performed a similar demonstration at the MLS game between D.C. United and the Portland Timbers at RFK Stadium in Washington.
On Friday, Oct. 21, Team Zaryen conducted a practice session at Astoria Sports Complex in Long Island City, NY.
When a major 7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in Jan. 2010, the country’s meager health care system was immediately overwhelmed. Help came quickly from the United States, in the form of a U.S. Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, and a huge tent hospital. Immediately adjoining the Port-au-Prince airport, the hospital was set up by Project Medishare for Haiti, a charitable medical organization established by doctors at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine in the 1990s.
In the months that followed, Project Medishare worked with a group of young men who lost limbs in the earthquake to establish Team Zaryen. The team is co-sponsored by Project Medishare and the Knights of Columbus. The Knights donated $1 million for the construction of a prosthetics laboratory and amputee rehabilitation program at Project Medishare’s Hospital Bernard Mevs in Port-au-Prince.
The Knights-funded Healing Haiti’s Children program has also made prosthetic limbs and therapy available to every child who lost a limb in the earthquake. To date, hundreds of children have received prosthetics and therapy through the Knights of Columbus-Medishare program.