UAF will cooperate with the Life Saving Centre to support the military and their families

2023-12-11 14:17 The Football House hosted the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Ukrainian Football Association ... UAF will cooperate with the Life Saving Centre to support the military and their families
11.12.2023, 14:17

The Football House hosted the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Ukrainian Football Association and the Life Saving Centre charity foundation. The main goal of the cooperation is to support the military undergoing treatment and recovery, as well as family members of Ukrainian ultras who died defending the independence of our country.

Photo: P. Kubanova

The document was signed by the UAF First Vice President Vadym Kostiuchenko, and the head of the Life Saving Centre, Viacheslav Zaporozhets, on behalf of the organisation. The meeting was also attended by Rostyslav Prystupa, a marine who took part in the defence of Mariupol, where he was seriously wounded and then taken prisoner, from which he was released in June 2022. Today Rostyslav works for the UAF as a manager of work with fans with disabilities. In November, at the invitation of the former head coach of the national team of Ukraine Andriy Shevchenko, the soldier attended the Ukraine-Italy match as part of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, which took place in Leverkusen, Germany.

Rostyslav is gradually recovering from a serious injury and has already tried to play football with other military men who are currently undergoing rehabilitation at the UAF team for players with disabilities. The boys are coached by Dmytro Rzhondkovskyi, who also attended the memorandum signing ceremony along with another teammate, Kostiantyn, who took part in the first UEFA League of Nations tournament for amputees in October as part of the Ukrainian national team. As a result of the tournament, our team successfully qualified for Euro 2024, which will be held in France.

The signed memorandum envisages cooperation between the two organisations, including the creation of appropriate conditions for soldiers undergoing rehabilitation to play football; support for the military and their families by involving them in football activities; social and psychological adaptation of soldiers with disabilities who have received prosthetics through rehabilitation through football; development and promotion of football among soldiers with amputated limbs; ensuring barrier-free access to stadiums during football matches, etc.

Commenting on the start of the cooperation, Vadym Kostiuchenko said that next year the UAF plans to assist in the arrangement of four football pitches at four rehabilitation centres for the military (in Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa regions). "We want to create all the conditions for the rehabilitation of our military through football. We hope that they will soon be joined by our national team, which is preparing to participate in the Euro. After all, they will be coached by specialists who will be trained by the UAF. We are also planning to organise an internal championship among the military - representatives of these rehabilitation centres. And in the future, such competitions will become all-Ukrainian. We are very grateful to our partners who are doing everything to ensure that our soldiers who have been seriously injured have the necessary prostheses so that they can play sports and live a full life. For our part, we will assist in finding donors who can support this important project," said the UAF First Vice President.

In addition, Vadym Kostyuchenko noted the development of another important area - the formation and support of the fan movement of soldiers. "Unfortunately, not everyone can or simply wants to play football after being injured at the front. But most people like to watch football and support our national teams. The UAF is ready to support the creation of a fan movement of warriors and help resolve all issues related to barrier-free access to stadiums and football events in general. In this context, it is also worth noting the corresponding order of the Cabinet of Ministers to prepare for the partial return of fans to the stands at Ukrainian championship matches. I believe that for many of our soldiers undergoing rehabilitation, attending matches will help them recover faster and take their minds off the horrors of war. Also, the opportunity to attend the matches will be open primarily to relatives, including children, of the fallen soldiers," Kostyuchenko said.

Vyacheslav Zaporozhets, head of the Life Saving Centre, spoke about the role of his organisation in the project: "We have been engaged in prosthetics since the first month of the full-scale invasion and understand that prosthetics alone account for only about 30% of the successful recovery of soldiers. The same amount is rehabilitation, and probably the most important is social adaptation. When the guys do something, including sports and football, it inspires them and helps them adapt to new conditions. And football is the best for this, as it is a team game. We can gather two or three teams and start training and education. We cooperate with rehabilitation centres and know where we can involve the military in this programme, as it is important and necessary for them. We are glad that Rostislav Prystupa has agreed to become an ambassador of this initiative."

According to Rostyslav Prystupa, a defender of Mariupol and recently an employee of the UAF, many soldiers may not believe that they are able to participate in the project due to certain physical limitations caused by their injuries. But in fact, this is not the case, and his personal example proves it. "The other day, I took part in a training session for the first time. Although, when I was offered, I didn't take it seriously and thought that the person was offering it because he didn't know my physical capabilities. But when I arrived, I stood on the goal and tried it out - I liked it. I am sure that if we bring guys to training like this, even just to watch, we will be able to attract more and more participants over time. Appropriate information support will also only help. I am sure that other guys will like it too," Rostyslav said.

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