This morning we all read the awful news of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, many of whose players died in a plane crash that killed 77 people. Among those 77 people, 20 of them were with the Chapecoense team, either as players, coaches, or training staff. There were also at least four journalists on board covering the team.
While here in the office we might not have been familiar with the team or even the tournament they were playing in, it goes without saying that our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. We can’t even fathom how they might be feeling right now. But some other people who probably need your prayers right now are the three members of Chapecoense who didn’t travel with the team for one reason or another.
These are three people who, along with the five survivors who were pulled from the wreckage in Colombia, will probably suffer years and years of what’s known as “survivor’s guilt.” From Wikipedia:
Survivor syndrome, also known as concentration camp syndrome (or KZ syndrome on account of the German term Konzentrationslager), are terms which have been used to describe the reactions and behaviors of people who have survived massive and adverse events, such as the Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They are described as having a pattern of characteristic symptoms including anxiety and depression, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance and nightmares, physical complaints and mood swings with loss of drive. Commonly such survivors feel guilty that they have survived the trauma and others—such as their family, friends, and colleagues—did not.
And judging from the photo that was taken of these three players in their locker room, I’d say that survivor’s guilt seems like a real thing.
How can these people balance the relief that they’re alive with the sadness that all of their teammates and friends are gone forever? It’s going to be a long, long road ahead. Hopefully their loved ones can help them move on in remembrance.
And in an attempt to help you cry even more, you might like to know that the Colombian team that Chapecoense was set to play against in the tournament championship, Atletico Nacional, has asked that Chapecoense be declared the winner of the tournament. It’s an extraordinary gesture and one that we know the fans will appreciate forever.
Furthermore, Paris-Saint Germain has announced they’ll donate €40 million to the club to help them rebuild with transfer fees.