Raising awareness of disability through blind football

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Blind football players regularly intervene in schools or soccer clubs to raise awareness of disability among young people.

The young U10 of FC Vaujours ; Photo credit : FC Vaujours

This notion of disability may indeed seem abstract to a child living in a so-called “ordinary” environment. Why can’t this person walk like me? Why can’t he see ? How can he or she get around on his or her own ? To run ? To play sports ?

In general, during “awareness days“, all these questions are answered. The children meet a person with a disability who explains the nature of his disability, its difficulties and the adaptations that have had to be made in his daily life.

The practice of a sport as an adaptation to disability

When you are visually impaired, practicing a sport like blind football allows you to considerably develop the abilities necessary for everyday life, such as spatial orientation and auditory perception. Learning to listen to the environment, reacting and moving around accordingly or knowing one’s position in space are fundamental notions in the acquisition of autonomy. Disabled sports can therefore be seen as a factor that promotes adaptation, the development of autonomy and integration into society

Example of an awareness day : meeting with the U10 youth of FC Vaujours

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, Yvan Wouandji, player of the French national team of blind football, had the opportunity to be received by the soccer club FC Vaujours in the Paris region. He met with the U10 category and introduced them to his sport. But not only that !

The children listening around their supervisors ; Photo Credit : FC Vaujours

What is the visual handicap concretely ?

The first part of his speech focused on the explanation of the visual handicap and on the means that exist to access the greatest possible autonomy in everyday life. For example, what is the purpose of the white cane that a blind person uses when moving around ?

Explanation of how a white cane works when moving ; Photo credit: FC Vaujours

Then, in order to address topics that are more relevant to children, it was appropriate to talk about school. How does a blind child learn if he can’t read or see pictures ?

You learn to read with your eyes, we learn to read with our fingers !

Yvan Wouandji, player of the French national blind football team

Yvan Wouandji then went on to explain the Braille writing system, which allows visually impaired people to read and write.

Video explaining the Braille system to children ; Credit : FC Vaujours

Workshop to discover blind football

After all these explanations, the children were only waiting to practice and discover how their own sport, soccer, could be played by blind people.

The workshops started with the explanation of the basics of the discipline : oral communication. Players constantly signal their position and actions by speaking. They inform their teammates of their intentions and important facts of the game.

The children learned to move with the ball without any visual help, to make passes or to shoot at the goal by learning the concept of guidance.

Summary of the workshops in video

Videos and photos made by the staff of FC Vaujours, thank you to them !

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