While Chapecoense members left behind after the tragic plane crash try to move on, one surviving player is taking big steps forward.
Alan Ruschel, a defender who was one of three players to survive the plane crash in Colombia, is walking again. A video released this week shows Ruschel walking under his own power and thanking fans for his support with a thumbs up. The 27-year-old had surgery on his spine after he was rescued from the plane's wreckage, but it did not prevent him from moving.
“Thank you, everyone, everyone worried about my recovery. This is Alan Ruschel,” he told the camera. “I wanted to tell you that I am recovering very well. I will soon be back in Brazil to finish recovering. I want to thank you for all your support, for all the caring messages I received. Thank you, everyone, thank you very much.”
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Ruschel's amazing progress comes after news emerged that one of his surviving teammates, defender Helio Hermito Zampier Neto, may be able to play soccer again, according to what doctors have told his family. Only six people survived the crash – three of them players, the others a flight attendant, a journalist and a Chapecoense staff member.
Ruschel has remained in Colombia after the plane carrying Chapecoense to the club's first-ever Copa Sudamericana final in Colombia against Atletico Nacional ran out of fuel. The crash killed 71 people – 19 of them players for Chapecoense, 20 journalists, and the rest comprised of team staff and cabin crew.