One leg at a time
Article from the Sun daily by Azizul Rahman Ismail (posted on 12 Dec 2019)
MUHAMAD HAQIMIE HASIM’S optimism is an unstoppable force. An amputee after suffering an accident eight years ago, this 28-year-old husband and father of one has proudly represented the nation in his favourite sport of football.
He even quit his job at a bank to become a real estate consultant in order to devote more time to his greatest loves – his family, and football.
Haqimie’s confidence and inner strength puts some of those with two legs to shame. He uses his conviction to motivate other amputees to not give up on their dreams, and proves to them that they are not alone in this world.
How did you lose your leg?
“The accident happened in 2011. During a long university holiday, I went swimming with my friends at a river almost every day. I always asked my mother for permission, hugged and kissed her before I go. Except on that fateful day.
“My mother told me that I didn’t have to go to the river that day, but I still did because it had become routine.
“It happened on the way back. I rode a motorcycle with a passenger at the back. While trying to avoid a bike with a sidecar, I veered off the road and drove between the two pillar walls of a surau.
“My friend suffered relatively minor injuries. I was unconscious. The damage was so severe that the doctors had to put me in a coma for 20 days.”
How did you get into amputee football?
“I was not aware of the existence of amputee football at that time.
“I was still studying back then. After my studies, I opened a business selling cakes. It didn’t work out, but I learned a lot.
“After that, I was hired to work at a bank. I started working at age 23. In 2018, a colleague asked if I did any sports.
“We knew about Malaysia’s Paralympic heroes, but because the sports that they participated in were not sports that I was interested in, I [assumed] that there was no sport that I could play.
“I told him that I used to play football, and he instructed me to contact a certain person [who was involved with amputee footbal players].
“I didn’t know there was such a thing as amputee football. It was still new to Malaysia, having only been introduced here in 2016.”
What did you do?
“After work, I sent my wife to her parents, and I called [the contact]. I was so excited, that the call lasted for over an hour. I told him that I wanted to join this community, and he invited me to tryouts a month later.
“That was the first time I had kicked a football in the seven years after the accident. It was awkward, we played using canes instead of prosthetics.
“I was so excited that I ran as if I had two legs, and double-stepped on my right foot, which is dangerous for the ankle. I had to calm myself down.
“From then onwards I didn’t look back. I even got selected for the national team.”
What was the last big game you played?
“In April or May, we had a friendly match in Jakarta. At the time, we stayed for three days and two nights. We had three games against the Indonesian team. We tied a game, we won a game, and we lost a game.”
How do you keep such an upbeat attitude after all that happened?
“I don’t know if it is ‘positivity’. Like, when the doctor told me that my leg had been cut off, I readily accepted it. But I feel it is more like [having] a ‘laid-back attitude’. I did not want to think too much about it.
“I thought to myself: ‘It happened and there is nothing else I can do about it, so life goes on.’
“Some worry for me, and ask about what am I going to do now. I tell them not to trouble themselves.
“[After all] I am the one who lost a leg.”
How has losing your leg changed you?
“It made me more open to others. I stand out in any crowd, and because of this, I have the confidence to talk and interact with people. More so than ever before.
“It also made me work harder and surround myself with positive friends.
“Admittedly, I didn’t reach for the highest achievements when I had my two legs. I studied and worked just enough to get by. But this accident opened my eyes. It is as if nothing can hold me back.”
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