Jackson Follman was one of just six survivors of the devastating air crash that claimed the lives of 71 people when a plane flying the Chapecoense first team into Medellin airport went down in the rural hills outside the Colombian city.
The Brazilian club was near-decimated, but immediately came fighting back from the brink, fulfilling (and winning) a Copa Libertadores fixture just three months later with two of the survivors – defender Neto and winger Alan Ruschel – named in the match-day squad.
Follman, however, wasn’t quite so lucky. Indeed, the ‘keeper lost his leg in the crash and was therefore forced to undergo life-saving surgery followed by months and months of enervating rehab.
The 25-year-old had to retire from professional football but, remarkably, Chape were able to confirm that the stopper had taken part in his first full training session since the crash with the aid of a prosthetic leg.
The club tweeted a photo of him going through his paces, along with the caption “Follmann completed his first practice with a ball today! What a moment!”
— Chapecoense (@ChapecoenseReal) November 16, 2017
Follman recently stated that he intends to battle back to fitness before attempting to represent Brazil at paralympic level – though it’s perhaps worth noting that the Olympics currently don’t facilitate amputee football.
As for Chape, they have all but secured their top-flight status in a year where you could have easily forgiven them for struggling, currently sitting in ninth place (eight points above the relegation zone) with three matches left to play.