Lebanon Landmine Survivor FC player profile: Nazih Saab
To mark Mine Awareness Day on 4 April of this year, Find A Better Way became the shirt sponsors of Lebanon Landmine Survivors FC, a team administered by our partners the Lebanon Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH).
Today we continue our series of inspirational life stories of the players with striker Nazih Saab, 50, a retired member of the Lebanese armed forces who lost his leg saving two children who had wandered into a minefield he was working nearby.
Here is Nazih’s story in his own words:
During my veteran years as a Lebanese Army member, and while in duty back in 1991, I was at my guard point when I noticed two little children entering a landmine marked zone while playing around. I got really scared for them and had to do everything to keep them safe. I followed them in. At that point I did not think whether or not I am endangering myself, as I had to save them. And I did, they were safe, but before I could step out myself, there was a landmine explosion and I lost my right leg instantly, and my left leg was injured. I felt disrespect more so than I did feel pain. I felt my military uniform was to shield me from all harm, but that landmine disrespected it. That is how I felt right there and then.
After that I greatly suffered between hospitals and surgeries, in a long 4 month stay, during which I was gradually losing my mind. There was not much education, and no one was telling me I could lead a normal life. That I could have a prosthetic fitting and I will be able to thrive and live.
After the prosthetic fitting, I stayed in my job which helped me overcome some of the depression that was eating at me. But it was not before a while that I heard of the sports program at LWAH, and how I wish I had found out about it sooner, as it was the turning point in my life. I play wherever our coach asks me to play, especially in front rows, and I always put my whole heart to it as I do in everything since the day of the blast. I live every minute to the full and enjoy every moment. Football keeps me fit and I know I do more than many people my age.
I am now retired but I attend training workshops, through LWAH, to start my own small business.
Today, I don’t regret one bit entering that mine field to save these two children. I look at my kids and I know I did the right thing. It was my pledge as a military man to protect my country and countrymen. And that is exactly what I did. Today I am a dad of four. The incident seems too far. I am more accomplished and I belong, in addition to my blood family, to the LWAH landmine survivors team that is my second family. I love every other member as my brother. My children come very often to watch me play and they are the proudest kids. They are proud I am a winner at life and in football.
Note: Nazih’s prosthetic leg features the Lebanese flag, it is as such to mark his bravery on a day he now remembers with pride.