Usually there is an understanding of patient – therapist confidentiality. What is said during physical therapy treatment is of utmost secrecy. This is not so on the tratement table of Darfur United.

They want the world know about Darfur and they need us to be their voices. As they receive treatment, they tell me all about their families, schools, camps, their extreme hardships, and especially their dreams.

They are unselfish, kind-hearted, athletic young men with dreams of a united and peaceful Darfur. They are gathering up so many VIVA World Cup newspapers, fliers, and posters. They want to bring the memorabilia back to teach and inspire the people in their camps. Every day there is a new experience that they need to remember to pass along.

They are interviewed after games and in the hotel. They are talking to other players from other countries and sharing their journey. The players are working hard on and off the pitch to represent Darfur.

Medically, they are all in great shape. They have “bone pain” (aka muscle soreness), wounds from the games, and sprained ankles. They don’t ever complain. They come in for treatment and then they are off to another practice, game, or meeting.

Yes, they are sad to lose. Like any athlete they want to win. But, they all know that they are here for a greater purpose. They need their ankles taped (which they are finally used to) but they really want their news and their treatment confessions publicly known. In hotels, it is advised to lock your door at all times. My door to the ” hospital” is always open for these players. Whether it be for treatment, to use the nail clippers, try lip balm, grab “medicine water” (Gatorade), or simply take a break, hang out and chat.

My job as their medical trainer during the VIVA World Cup will sadly coming to an end soon. But I will tell the players again, as I treat them for tonight’s game, that their dreams for Darfur and their people are being shared.

Nothing is confidential. There is no secrecy. Their story is being told.

Alex Nuttall-Smith

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