Hero of the Week: Brazilian Interpreter Goes Viral for Helping Deaf and Blind Friend Enjoy the World Cup
Brazil can count on millions of fans to cheer every game during its bid to win the coveted World Cup title.
But for fans with sensory disabilities, following the game comes with challenges, even though their support of the national team is just as fervent as other Brazilians.
In the country’s most populous city of São Paulo, a group of deaf and blind interpreters is hard at work to bring every tense and joyous moment of the national team’s games to dedicated blind and deaf fans. How? With a miniature soccer board and gentle guiding hands.
In a video that has now gone viral, interpreter Renato Rodrigues related every moment of Brazil’s nerve-wracking game against Costa Rica to long-time friend Carlos Alberto Santana.
How the now-famous act of kindness happened
Carlinho, as Rodrigues calls his dear friend of over 10 years, got to experience the game during a special viewing set up at a cultural center for fans with visual and hearing impairments. The group vigorously celebrated the moments when Philippe Coutinho and Neymar da Silva Santos Junior scored the stoppage-time goals that ensured Brazil’s first World Cup win this year.
On a specially-designed miniature board imitating a soccer field, Carlinho set his hands on Rodrigues’. With one hand representing the ball and the other the player in possession of the ball, Rodrigues relayed the game in real time to Carlinho.
“Before my dad would take my hand and say, ‘Eeh! Look there! A goal! A goal!’ But information was missing,” Junior told the Myanmar Times. But thanks to Rodrigues and interpreters like him, Carlinho gets to experience all the details, including Neymar’s match-end tears and reactions from both teams’ players.
“It was a great experience guiding Carlos along with my friends,” Rodrigues told Newsflare. “He got emotional and said he wants more for the next match. We wanted Carlinhos to feel the emotion that millions of Brazilians feel.”
Why this moment was extra special for Carlinho
Now 31, Carlinho was born deaf, but with his eyesight intact. He even played as a goalkeeper in a deaf soccer team. But by 14, he started losing his eyesight as the Usher syndrome he was born with started affecting his vision. By 23, he was fully blind.
But that never stopped him from remaining a die-hard soccer fan, and this method brought more of the sport back to him, allowing him to enjoy his favorite sport with rich detail. For Carlinho though, his friends’ efforts mean more than enjoying a game of soccer: “The moment you do this, you show that a deaf and blind person is the same as any other person.”
Not only has the group of interpreters been helping Carlinho follow the 2018 World Cup, they have been doing it for quite a while now. Watch an emotional video of Helios Fonseca and Regiane Cunha Pereira interpreting for Carlinho during the 2014 World Cup: