Helio Neto is a surviving member of Chapecoense, a Brazilian soccer team, whose chartered plane crashed into a mountain near Medellin, Columbia on Monday, November 28, 2016 killing 71, including 19 members of the elite soccer club.
His wife said the night before he left on the flight, Neto had dreamt their plane would crash.
The team was traveling from its home town in Chapecó, Brazil to play in the South American Cup (Copa Sudamericana). Similar to the European Cup where top club teams vie to see who is the best team in Europe, top league teams across South America play in a similar tournament.
There were 77 on board the plane, including members of the team, club officials, journalists and guests. Only three football players, two crew members and one journalist survived. According to reports, three of the survivors — two soccer players and a stewardess — were Evangelical Christians.
It is suspected the plane crashed when it ran out of gas as it was approaching the Medellin airport.
Helio Neto, who plays center back for Chapecoense, was one of three surviving players. Doctors have performed multiple surgeries on Neto including his skull, lungs, knees and wrist. Still in serious condition, doctors describe his condition as “delicate” as he battles an infection related to his injuries.
According to the Mirror, medical staff have still not told Neto of the crash and death of his teammates because they do not want to disrupt him emotionally during his recovery.
However, a story is also emerging about Neto’s Christian faith. In a previous interview, Neto’s wife Simone stated that her husband is serious about his faith and reads his Bible all the time and takes it with him on his trips.
People searching the plane wreckage believe they found evidence of his faith.
While going through the debris, Brazilian journalist Robertao Cabrini found a tattered book. Picking it up, he discovered it was the remains of a Bible with Neto’s name on it. He had bookmarked Psalm 63 suggesting the Christian soccer player was reading this passage sometime before the crash.
The Psalm reads in part:
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
7 For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6-8 NASV)
King David penned this protection-prayer Psalm while hiding in the wilderness to avoid being killed by King Saul.
Because of his dream, Neto may have been praying through this Psalm before the team’s plane crashed. The Bible says that at times God will use dreams to warn His people:
“Indeed God speaks once,
Or twice, yet no one notices it.
15 “In a dream, a vision of the night,
When sound sleep falls on men,
While they slumber in their beds, (Job 33:14-15 NASV)
After visiting Jesus shortly after His birth, God warned the Magi through a dream to not visit Herod as he requested (Matthew 2:12). So they returned to their homeland by a different route.
When Abraham referred to his wife Sarah as his sister, King Abimlech took her as his wife. It is suspected Abraham did this because he feared for his life. Through a dream God warned Abimelech that he was a “dead man” if he didn’t return Sarah, because she was actually married to Abraham (Genesis 20:1-7).
The tragedy involving Chapecoense shook up the South American soccer world. The club’s rise to a soccer super power is nothing short of a Cinderella story. The team’s stadium is so small, that CONMEBO — the group overseeing the South American Cup — will not allow games to be played at the team’s facility.