|Image: Goalball Logo representing a blindfolded player preparing to roll the ball|
Recreation therapists Rachel Smith and Lindsay Conner of the WBRC have partnered with Jonathan Newman, Adult Sports Coordinator for Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) to host a goal ball clinic about once a month for veterans who were interested to learn about and participate in the game. For each session, Jonathan is joined by Brandon, another coach and current player, who competed in the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.
The idea for Goalball, developed by Hans Lorenzen of Austria and Sepp Reindle of Germany, came about in 1946 as a team sport for blind athletes. It originally began as a sport for visually impaired WWII veterans, and developed into a competitive game overtime – appearing at the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto, holding its first world championship in Austria in 1978 and becoming an official Paralympic sport in the summer of 1980.
The game consists of two 12-minute halves with players on each team who are aiming to throw a ball past the players on the other team. The ball has bells inside to enable players to more easily make out the location of the ball; where it’s coming from and where it’s going to. Blindfolds are worn by partially-sighted players to compete without advantage with players who are totally blind.
Rachel and Lindsay have continued to organize this clinic since February, which has proven to be a successful and very enjoyable event for the veterans at the WBRC and other departments on the Menlo Park campus. Each clinic has had a successful turnout with many of the WBRC veterans and staff members showing up for the fun!
Article Written By: Elizabeth Alcorn, WBRC Manual Skills Instructor