The importance of giving visually impaired students a sporting outlet

The importance of giving visually impaired students a spor ting outle t

access to sport in school due to their additional needs and can subsequently suffer from isolation. Our own research at Goalball UK has found that the visually impaired players of goalball, and other team sports, are 47%more likely to be in full time education or employment then their peers. However, this community remains under represented in terms of engagement with sport and physical activity - so much so that a

staggering 89%of these people are inactive in the UK.

This figure includes people of all ages, but there are currently 25,000 visually impaired students in the UK and 70%of these are in mainstream schools.

These students are at an age where imperative that key traits and skills ar e

taught it is


n our second loo which schools ca student obesity, S Goalball UK’s Nati

discusses the importance of offering

inclusive access to exercise to all pupils, and explains howgoalball allows the visually impaired in our schools to enjoy the benefits of exercise and teamsport.

Encouraging studen sports is one of the physical and mental

development. Research has best ways to support their ts to participate in team

found that the outcomes can be incredibly comprehensive - ranging from improved self- esteem, self-regulation, goal attainment and leadership skills.

All these characteristics if delivered are essential for students, not only through their educational years, but it will also put them in a great position when they are seeking and in employment. But how can these same opportunities and benefits be passed on to the blind and partially sighted community in school and when they are in employment? It is a sad reality that many visually impaired students do not have equal

3 0 www April 2019 2019

n our second look this month at the ways in which schools can tackle the thorny issue of student obesity, Stephen Newey, from Goalball UK’s National School Programme, discusses the importance of offering inclusive access to exercise to all pupils, and explains how goalball allows the visually impaired in our schools to enjoy the benefits of exercise and team sport.

n tackle the thorny issue of k thismonth at theways in

onal School Programme, tephen Newey, from

which can deliver many benefits in later life. There is a real risk that the visually impaired community of young people are missing out on the widespread benefits that can be gained by playing sports, and team sports in particular. I started working with visually impai students last year when Goalball UK la National School Programme.

unched its red

The scheme has been made possible by a grant of nearly £100K from Children in Need and has been designed to deliver goalball activities and competitive opportunities to blind, partially sighted and disadvantaged young people in mainstream schools. The programme utilises goalball’s Great Britain athletes as role models to lead coaching, share experiences as elite athletes

for blind and partial originally devised as people with a visual team sport that has For those that do and growing up wit

fromWorldWar II.

It is played by two teams of three and the objective is to thro w the ball past you opponent s in the nine-meter-wide goal. As the sport is played with blackout goggles anyone can

participate, allowing visually impaired and sighted people to compete on an even playing field. Since going into our first school in late 2018, we have so far connected with 25 schools, delivering a total of 67 goalball sessions to over 900 students. The sessions we deliver are for both

been specifically designed for n’t know, goalball is the only h a visual impairment.

a rehabilitation programme impairment and was

ly sighted soldiers returning

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