Venezuelan soccer player's medical bill $100,000 and rising
Jose Garcia had no travel insurance and wasn't covered by league insurance when he was hurt
A Venezuelan tourist is facing a medical bill of over $100,000 after being badly injured in a soccer game while he was on holiday in B.C.
Jose Garcia had been visiting Vancouver since January when he joined a friend's recreational soccer team, Colombia FC. He suffered a crushed kidney while playing goal on July 16 .
"When I was going to catch the ball, the other team striker jumped and he hit me with his knee in my stomach," said Garcia from a wheelchair outside of Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C.
The 22 year-old collapsed on the field and was rushed to hospital. Since then, he's had three surgeries and contracted pneumonia.
Garcia, who played semi-pro soccer in Venezuela, did not renew his travel medical insurance when it expired in April.
The Multicultural Soccer Association of British Columbia, in which Colombia FC plays, does carry extended medical insurance, but as a foreigner Garcia is not covered.
Garcia's friends from Colombia FC have started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay his medical bills.
"He is here alone from Venezuela," said Jaquie Marin. "He's got no family. We have become his family because he plays on the soccer team that our sons play on."
As of 11 a.m. PT Saturday, just over $2,000 had been raised.
"There are no words that can express how thankful, how grateful I am," said Garcia. "I really appreciate all that they are doing."