- April 7, 2016
- Lyons P&O
Original article from scnow.com
MYRTLE BEACH – Eric Westover grew up in Minnesota, and said he used to play soccer to help train for hockey.
He played goalie in both sports, and that didn’t end when his right forearm was amputated several years ago. But he hasn’t lost his ability–or the opportunity–to play soccer.
“I can do what I did (before the amputation),” said Westover, who now lives in Carolina Forest. “I’m doing it a little differently, but I can still do it,” he said.
Eric was approached by representatives from the American Amputee Soccer Association for a spot as a goalie on the U.S. national team it was putting together in 2006.
“A lot of us were athletes before we lost our limb, and to be able to use a sport to get people back, not only exercising but to be an athlete, and to come back and be able to do that is such an incredible feeling,” he said.
Westover and his teammates recently took on a team from Haiti made up mostly of earthquake survivors who had lost limbs in the tragedy there last year. The teams played and helped conduct clinics for other interested players and even participants in the Wounded Warriors program in Washington, D.C.
“To be standing out there, with all these other guys, representing the U.S., it was so cool,” said Westover. “I’m just really blessed to have the opportunity,” he said.
According to the AASA website, 15 other countries have amputee national teams, and there are plans to continue clinics and workshops at schools and hospitals in this country. Westover has hopes he could help start a league in this part of the Carolinas.
“Myrtle Beach may not be the center for it, but there’s tons of people in Columbia and Charleston, and Myrtle Beach has some great sports tourism opportunities here to bring people in to do some clinics, just to introduce them to soccer,” he said.
If you’re interested in soccer programs or other opportunities for amputees, you can contact Eric Westover at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Even if they walk away and they don’t play soccer again, this might get them to go out and do something else they wanted to do,” said Westover.