One-legged soccer player inspires World Cup commercial

imageImage via Coca-Cola

Get ready to choke back the tears, because this is one heck of a story.

Nico Calabria was born with only one leg, but the rare disability has never inhibited him from achieving greatness on and off the field. Using forearm crutches now after learning how to play soccer, basketball or even how to ice skate with the help of a prosthetic leg, Nico still excelled competing against two-legged peers, even at the varsity high school level.

Now 19, Nico has become one of the best players on the United States National Amputee Soccer Team and an inspiration to anyone with a pulse. Six years ago, Nico became the first person to ever summit Mt. Kilimanjaro on crutches, raising more than $100,000 for charity in the process. (Now that kid’s got some upper body strength!)

Inspired by Nico’s amazing journey, sports drink makers Powerade have now featured him as part of their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, and the ad is perfect. Watch:

For more on Nico’s story, check out Coca-Cola’s profile on him.

H/T Huff Post


Paralyzed teenager to take first kick at 2014 World Cup

H/T NESN.com

You’d be forgiven for assuming that the likes of Neymar or Pele would be involved in taking the first kick at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Instead, it’s something quite different, yet incredibly special and unique. A teenager paralyzed from the waist down is set to kick off the huge spectacle in Sao Paulo by taking the ceremonial first kick!

You read correctly. With the help of the world’s most advanced mind-controlled exoskeleton, the yet-to-be-chosen lucky teenager will take the first kick on perhaps the world’s most prominent sports stage.

The ambitious idea is designed to showcase the Walk Again Project - a nonprofit international collaboration dedicated to researching ways to overcome paralysis through technology. The project itself explains the process, helped through the wearing of a “robotic body suit”, here:

"The candidate teenage kicker will be trained in Virtual Reality to control technology that will eventually allow them to kick the ball at the world cup [sic]. They will do this by wearing a non-invasive headpiece that detects brain waves."

For more on the Walk Again Project, check out this story from the Washington Post.

Pretty incredible stuff.

imageImage via Twitter/@IndyStarSport


Gladbach’s Dominguez plays handball instead of soccer, gives up two PKs in one minute

Bayern Munich kicked off the Bundesliga season with a comfortable 3-1 win over longtime foes Borussia Moenchengladbach. Though Bayern were practically in control the entire game, they were helped by one of their opponents in a remarkable way.

With the score 2-1 to the home side in the second half, Gladbach’s Alvaro Dominguez had a penalty called against him for a rather obvious handball. What happened next, well, we’ve never seen anything like it.

Thomas Muller, as cool as they come from the spot, had his penalty saved by an outstanding Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but before the latter could even have a chance to get back into his stance, Dominguez incredibly handled the ball once more, leading to a second PK.

Practically begging Bayern to score, this time David Alaba made no mistake, sealing Munich’s season-opening win. Dominguez, meanwhile, maybe he should explore an alternate career in handball?

(Video via FootballDaily1)


Incredible double save sends Iran to World Cup

Leading 1-0 over South Korea in a crucial World Cup Qualifier, Iran needed a victory to secure a place in the 2014 World Cup.

In comes Iranian goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi.

Off of a free kick in the 75th minute, Ahmadi made an unbelievable double save that helped preserve the victory and clinch the top spot in Group A, igniting celebrations as the team booked their spot in the World Cup.