Memoirs of an Athlete: Rodrigo Campos Playing Despite Injuries
Soccer, nicknamed “The World Game” for its ability to unite people from diverse backgrounds, has been played for over 200 years for one young man it was more than that.
Rodrigo Campos was born in Brazil, one of the soccer capitals of the world. It was in his native Brazil that Campos was introduced to the sport by his grandfather.
“He would take me all the games in our city to get me out of the house,” said Campos. “I did not have much interest for the sport at first. I mostly went for the food trucks.”
However, Campos would begin to play at the ripe age of nine and never looked back. He says, “I was not very good at first, but I practiced hard and worked towards my goals.”
Campos also talked about his time playing with teams in Brazil, as well as teams here in the United States.
“I played with Escolinha do Flamengo and Escolinha do Cruzeiro, both teams named after first division teams in the Brazilian league. I also played with Cheetahs FC, as well as Port Chester High School,” said Campos.
Campos went on to talk about the things he learned while playing with each team, as well as the bonds he formed with other players. “I got to learn different techniques from different countries because I had coaches from around the world,” said Campos.
Unfortunately, during his sophomore year of high school, Campos suffered an ACL tear—an injury that impacted any chance of him playing professionally. He recalls trying out for the Westchester Flames U20, a semi-professional league, and how, in the first five minutes of the game, he tore his ACL.
The injury left him on the bench for the next eight months, which included rehab and a lot of icing. After the green light from his doctor to play again, Campos returned to the field—but once again, his luck did not seem for the better: he tore his ACL a second time.
Campos would go on and endure a third torn ACL, which, according to his doctor, was the equivalent of “three strikes and you’re out.”
This left Campos devastated at the thought of never being able to play soccer again. “I was just a kid following a dream of becoming a professional soccer player which got ruined by a severe injuries,” Campos said. “I often think about how different my life would be if I was still playing and if I had been able to pursue it further.”
Campos recalls his time playing soccer and the outlet it provided for him—somewhere he could relax and clear his head. “Soccer always made me compete for the best of my abilities,” Campos said. He knew he was playing a good game when he would cramp up, “I knew I was giving it my all and that one move could end my career at any point.”