How do you support your national team when watching on TV or listening on the radio just isn’t an option? 31-year-old Brazil fan Carlos Junior has found an alternative method to cheer on his side in their World Cup adventure.
Like most of his home nation Carlos Junior is football mad but due to being both blind and deaf, he has to follow the tournament in a novel way. Using the help of interpreters and a miniature football pitch, the 31-year-old massage therapist experiences each game by touch communication - his interpreter guiding Junior’s hand on the model pitch to mimic the action on the field in Russia.
A video of Junior experiencing Brazil’s 2-0 win against Costa Rica was posted online by a friend and has since gone viral.
“The moment you do this, you show that a deaf and blind person is the same as any other person,” Junior said via sign language, as reported by Stuff.co.nz.
Junior was born with Usher syndrome which resulted in him being deaf from birth and fully blind by the age of 23 but he was vowed to not allow his sight impairment envelope his love of the beautiful game and says that the unique method he uses to enjoy football matches has made him rediscover his love of football.
“Before my dad would take my hand and say, ‘Ehh! Look there! A goal! A goal!’ But information was missing. I wanted to know if the ball hit the crossbar, what side it was on, the right side or the left side.”
The system used by Junior’s football interpreters allows him to follow the flow of the game in real time, noting the position on the pitch, passes, fouls, yellow cards, red cards - and practically all other elements contained in the game.
“Even though they (deaf and blind people) don't have access to lots of information, that doesn't hinder their lives," sign language interpreter Helio Fonseca de Araujo said.
"If society adapts to them, they can live normally."