When I was eight years old, we moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil (from Cuiaba) where I started playing football. I always liked to play football.
I played in the junior team of São Paulo FC in 2000. We were in the middle of the junior Paulistan championship when I received a yellow card. I was suspended for one game, so I took a break over the weekend to visit my grandparents, who lived in Caldas Novas at that time.
"I hit my head on the pool bottom and broke my neck"
My brother, my parents, my grandparents and I went to a water park. I jumped in the swimming pool and hit my head on the bottom and broke my neck. I fractured the sixth vertebra in my neck. At that moment, I had no idea what was happening.
I left the pool with a severe headache, and my brother came right after me and asked me what had happened. I told him I had hit my head on the pool bottom. He saw that I was bleeding and convinced me to go to the emergency room of the park. From there, we went to the hospital where they took an x-ray of my neck. According to the x-ray, everything was fine. I did a suture on the head and went away.
"They told me I could have become a paralytic"
I returned to Sao Paulo to train on Monday and Tuesday, and throughout that time with a broken neck. On Tuesday, I called the coach and physiotherapist and told them I could no longer stand the pain. They took me to the hospital where they did another x-ray. It was at this x-ray that my fracture in the sixth vertebra appeared. Everyone, including the doctors told me I was a lucky guy, and that nothing more serious had happened. They told me I could have become a paralytic and lost my ability to walk and play football. I do not believe in luck. I believe God was protecting me during that time lest nothing more serious could happen.
Many people think that I became a Christian after the accident, but it is not true. My parents are Christians and I grew up learning the Biblical values. The accident happened in October 2000 when I played in teams based in Sao Paulo FC For two months I used a cervical collar and could not play. xxxxx "I believe God had a purpose in that accident"
I went back to playing again in January 2001, and after 10 or 15 days, I was called to play for a professional team of Sao Paulo F. C. Because of it, I believe that God had a purpose in that accident. It was something that happened right before having the great blessing of starring as a professional player in the Sao Paulo FC and start my career as a professional football player.
As I said before, my parents always taught the Bible and its values, and also about Jesus Christ and faith. I did not have a specific conversion experience, but little by little, I stopped listening to people talk about the Jesus that my parents taught me, and there came a time when I wanted to live my own experience with God. One of these experiences with God was my baptism when I was 12. This was a very important step in my walk with Jesus and soon after many things happened in my life where I could have experiences with God in a real way.
"Everything I have, I thank God"
I need Jesus every day of my life. Jesus in the Bible tells me that without Him we can do nothing. I have the talent and ability to play football today because God gave it to me. The day that He wants me to do something else, I'll do what anything because I need Jesus in my life every day. I am successful in my financial life and in my professional life, but it all comes from God and is a gift of His grace in my life. Everything I have I thank God.
The difference Jesus makes in my life is that I know I'll always win, I'll always have joy, and always have success. Regardless of the situations I face or will face. This brings me great peace.
"I am a winner and I am victorious because Jesus lives in my life"
I usually say to people who ask, that the Bible is like a user manual that comes along when you purchase a product. In it we find everything we need. I'm happy to read the Bible every day to study and be in communion with God and learn more and more about Jesus.
I will win many games and many others I can lose, but I know that in all of them God has a plan. It's why I try to understand God's plan for me every time so that I have peace durane those moments of pressure. Everybody wants to be winners, but for me, the true meaning of winning is having Jesus in my life. A life of prayer, a life of intimacy and lasting friendship, knowing that God is our Father, and I can say I am a winner and victorious because Jesus lives in my life. No, I'll never stop following Him.