Paralympic Games Have At Least 27 War-Wounded
North-American Melissa Stockwell, 36, had her left leg amputated above the knee in 2004 after being hit by a roadside bomb while serving her country's army in Iraq.
Exactly 15 years after the event that triggered the war in which she was injured, the attack on the Twin Towers, in New York, Stockwell received her first medal, not as a military member, but as a Paralympic athlete. She won bronze in triathlon on Sunday (11).
Like Stockwell, at least 27 Paralympic athletes in Rio are war veterans injured on the battlefields.
A survey by Folha shows that athletes from eight countries got started in Paralympic sports after being shot at, stepping on landmines or having their vehicles targeted by improvised bombs or rocket-propelled grenades.
The US lead the list, with ten athletes, followed by Britain, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with four each, Sri Lanka (three), Turkey, the Netherlands and Australia, with one athlete each.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan caused the injuries of most of the ex-soldiers now in the Paralympic Games: 16.
The North-American road cyclist Alfredo de los Santos, 46, lost his left leg in Afghanistan in 2008 when his armored vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
It was also in Afghanistan that English para-canoe athlete Nick Beighton, 34, lost both legs when he stepped on improvised explosives, also in 2008.
The same happened in 2012 with the Australian canoeist Curtis MacGrath, 28. The only nurse in his team, he had to guide the other soldiers on how they should give him morphine.
Many of them see in sport a way to carry on with life, now surrounded by limitations. For the American swimmer Bradley Snyder, 31, it is also an opportunity to serve his country again.
In 2011, during a mission to rescue wounded soldiers in Afghanistan, he lost both eyes on a bomb explosion. Snyder already won two gold medals in Rio
Translated by MARINA DELLA VALLE