The conviction of Coach Montoya The conviction of Coach Montoya

The conviction of Coach Montoya

Armony in health 1 February, 2017 Isabel Vallejo

Luis Fernando Montoya’s medical condition continues to progress in a positive direction. His attitude and the support from his family and from the staff of the Coomeva Private Healthcare medical team have been fundamental to his recovery process.

Seven years ago, Revista Salud Coomeva published an interview with Luis Fernando Montoya Soto, the soccer coach from the Department of Antioquia, more commonly known as “Coach Montoya,” or el profe in Spanish. The coach of the Once Caldas soccer team, who showered Colombia with the glory of the Copa Libertadores de América trophy this year, has opened the doors of his house once again to share the details of his recovery process with us and to discuss his take on different aspects of life.

Since the incident that injured his spinal cord, Montoya has physical therapy and respiratory therapy sessions every day. These sessions are often exhausting, but he willingly takes them on with a big smile. “I tell people that there is always a motivation behind everything: both the big and the small. When I began to date my wife Adriana, it would make me happy to get to see her; and the next day, it would make me happy to get to dance with her. Now my motivation is being able to move just a little bit more and being able to reach a goal,” explains Luis Fernando, whose happiness is contagious as he talks.

When he discusses his recovery, he fills with excitement. For him, each step forward is an achievement that he has paid with sweat and tears, yet is also the result of teamwork. “What I achieve in my recovery are group achievements, it is the result of my own work together with the work of the staff at Coomeva Private Healthcare and of the at-home care of Hospital en Casa. It is a team effort. If someone fails to perform, we do not get results. I tell this to each and every one of the staff.”

Many people visit Coach Montoya at his house: celebrities, journalists and soccer fans. People see him as someone of great admiration and someone they can have conversations with about sports, politics or everyday life. This former coach always has a valuable contribution to make.

The optimistic and grounded vision he has of life is what most likely makes different organizations see him as the ideal figure for giving conferences to youth throughout the country, inspiring them with words of hope and the motivation to move forward. “I am so thankful because life has given me the chance to return to work. I now have the opportunity to spread a message to youth, many of which are in difficult situations and do not have the motivation to continue because a mix of drugs or alcohol has stormed into their lives. It is comforting to know that when they see me and listen to me, they often reevaluate their thinking. Some even cry when they find hope in my story or in my message, despite what I have gone through.”

This man does not stop in the face of adversity. The country has yet to forget the image of Coach Montoya when he served as an advisor to the Millonarios soccer team in 2012, who with his assistance, ended as winners of the Liga Nacional tournament. “I feel like a champion again,” he said with excitement to the media the day they won the championship.

When asked about how he feels about soccer, he maintains that even though he knows that he will not return to stand behind the sidelines, he has invaluable knowledge that can be applied to many professional soccer teams as he is one of the three coaches in the history of Colombia that has made it to the Copa Libertadores de América championships.

It takes sacrifice 
The progress Montoya has made with his medical condition is considerable. He has improved the stability of his torso, expanded his neck movements and has increased the sensitivity of some parts of his body, along with other advances that have surprised his medical team. Coach Montoya continues to work every day on his stated goal: to be able to hug his wife and son again, Adriana Herrera and José Fernando.

Today, his improvements are not only clear to him, but to all of us who have seen him progress. He can breathe without assistance, has regained sensitivity in his neck and back, can hold his head up and turn it and has begun the recovery process of his torso. His progress contributes to our society and to our country and is an example of persistence, discipline and faith,” Lency Naranjo states, Regional Director of the Hospital en Casa program.

In discussing the coach’s recovery process, which has evolved over the last 12 years, he emphasizes his appreciation of the everlasting dedication of Coomeva Private Healthcare and of its Hospital en Casa program. “I won’t mention each one of the people I worked with because it wouldn’t be right if I were to forget one of them, but I can say that from its management to each and every member of its supporting staff, all have been a fundamental part of my recovery process,” he declares.

A physical therapist from the Hospital en Casa program, Andrea Areiza shares, “Coach Montoya is an example for us all. While like any of us, he has days when he is down, he generally maintains a positive attitude in nearly every situation, which is what we most admire of him. He also has the ingredient to what make people so great: he gives much more than what you think he can. That is the secret to his recovery.”

The list of those who admire and are proud of him continues. Jorge Alberto Zapata Builes, General Manager of Coomeva Private Healthcare states, “Coach Luis Fernando’s example brings happiness to all of us who have followed his recovery process from the beginning. Specialists have witnessed significant progress with him, but I would highlight his recovery as a human being even more. He now believes in himself again and has the motivation to live with all the life energy that has always characterized him. That is what truly makes him an example for us all.”

On each wall of his house hangs a memory of this man, a South American idol. It is this depiction of leadership that has led him to want to recognize the committed efforts of the staff of Coomeva Private Healthcare and Hospital en Casa. Coach Montoya never gives up and will undoubtedly continue to serve as an example for all of us as well as an example of overcoming obstacles.

For the entire interview with Coach Montoya, visit our webpage: