A 31-year-old soccer fan, who is both deaf and blind, has been able to enjoy the Brazilian national team’s success in the 2018 FIFA World Cup thanks to a good friend who has doubled as his interpreter, according to a report.
While Brazil faced off against Costa Rica in the opening round of the World Cup, Carlos Alberto Santana was able to follow the game thanks to his friend, Renato Rodrigues, who interpreted everything from plays to goals by holding Santana’s hands and moving them over a mini soccer field replica, Newsflare reported.
Santana was born deaf and started to lose his eyesight when he was just 17, the outlet said. According to Newsflare, Santana has Usher syndrome, which is caused by an abnormal development of hair and sensory cells that affects a person’s ability to see and hear, and also causes difficulties in maintaining balance.
The National Institute of Health says Usher syndrome affects about four to 17 of every 100,000 people and makes up about half of all hereditary deaf-blindness cases.
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In a touching video capturing the moments Brazilian superstar Neymar and Philippe Coutinho scored stoppage-time goals to lift Brazil over Costa Rica and secure their first win of the 2018 World Cup, Rodrigues moved Santana’s hands over the table to indicate the game-winner. Santana quickly raised his arms triumphantly before giving Rodrigues a big embrace in celebration.
“We wanted Carlinhos to feel the emotion that millions of Brazilians feel,” Rodrigues told Newsflare, using the nickname he has given Santana, his friend for over a decade.
After the winning goal, Rodrigues used more hand gestures to communicate the reactions of players from both teams.
“I described Neymar crying and being hug by other footballers,” he explained to Newsflare, “as well as the upset of Costa Rica players.”
To show Santana that Neymar was crying tears of happiness, Rodrigues took Santana’s hands and cupped them to his face.
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Rodrigues said Santana had such a great time that he can’t wait to experience Brazil’s next games.
“He got emotional and said he wants more for the next match… It was a great experience guiding Carlinhos,” he said. “ very exciting football game for all of us.’’
The fans’ special viewing arrangement is similar to another viral video from the World Cup, featuring a blind and death Colombian soccer fan.