Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Portugal and the most practiced. With the national team often amongst the higher-rated teams in both Europe and the world, Portuguese children dream of joining the ranks of professional football. With equal parts hard work and natural talent, Sandro Borges would have an opportunity to live his dream and play professionally for his beloved Portugal. Unfortunately, a car accident at age 21 would cut this dream short.
Today, he is a boxing coach, father and amputee. This is Sandro’s story.
Growing up in a tight-knit, football-loving family in Lisbon, Sandro developed a passion for the sport from an early age. And much like his contemporary, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Renaldo, he progressed quickly through amateur football teams. At age 14, he relocated to Porto after signing his first professional contract with the Boavista Futebol Club. He would go on to play for seven years as center midfield for Boavista, the Portuguese National Team and Clube Desportivo Santa Clara respectively.
A tragic car accident one evening would change this 21-year old’s life in an instant. His injuries were serious and potentially life threatening. His left leg, damaged beyond repair, would require immediate amputation.
“The first reaction was a state of shock…the consequences of what had just happened, knowing that I would never more able to run, walk, go out at night with my friends or pick up my son from school, had a significant impact and shook my confidence in myself.”
Despite his shock and sadness, Sandro promised himself that no matter how difficult, he would recover. He received his first prosthetic shortly after his surgery and began an aggressive rehabilitation effort.
“Above all, I wanted to get my life back and make up for lost time. So, I went back to the gym as often as possible and I concentrated all my efforts on recovery. I wanted to do better every time.”
Meanwhile, Sandro would explore other athletic activities. He began to cycle and swim, enjoying the freedom his prosthetic provided. A chance meeting with a potential business partner would open an entirely new door and renewed sense of purpose: boxing. Within a year, he would open his first boxing gym and begin to coach amateurs and professionals in the ring.
Today, Sandro is a boxing trainer who uses Pro-Flex XC Torsion because, as he says, “it helps me move the way I want to move.” He continues to push himself in the ring and is an outspoken proponent of physical fitness, sport activities and a life without limitations.
“I lead a perfectly normal life, both personally and professionally. Life has given me the opportunity to try boxing after being a professional football player and I grabbed it, without doubts or hesitations.”