Campus Recreation, in partnership with Students with Disabilities Services, will come together to celebrate October as Disability Awareness Month. This is the third year the two partners have collaborated and the celebration will feature a Goalball Tournament Oct. 24, from 5-10 PM.
According to the International Paralympic Committee website, Goalball was created in 1946 as a method for rehabilitating visually-impaired veterans who returned from World War II. It was introduced as an official Paralympic sport in 1976 at the games in Toronto.
The sport consists of two halves at 12 minutes each. The object of the game is to roll the ball into the opposite goal while opposing players attempt to block the ball with their bodies. Blackout masks are worn during the game, forcing the players to rely on other senses beside sight during gameplay. Bells inside the ball allow players to hear the location of the ball and to orient themselves accordingly.
“What often happens sometimes I think in the community is people don’t realize that persons with disabilities can be physically active and engage in sporting activities and such,” said Raquel Pancho, associate director for Students with Disabilities Services.
The goal of this event is to intertwine able-bodied students and students with disabilities in a fun and inclusive environment. It is designed to create interaction and grow the comradery between students, as well as to promote the abilities of those individuals with disabilities.
Justin Chan, a visually-impaired student in the College of Business, enjoys the event.
“Whenever people at the university see people with a disability, they always wonder, you know, how does a blind person do things? Or how does a deaf person do what they do,” Chan said. “It just gives them a chance to do it. To get in there and do it for themselves. They don’t have to ask the question anymore, they can say, ‘I did it.’”
The consensus among students is that Goalball is a unique sport.
“You use your sense of sight a lot, so having that taken away from you is kind of limiting,” said physical therapy graduate student Islam Kaloda, who participated in last year’s event “I was kind of getting frustrated at first just for not being able to see. You start to increase your sense of hearing since you are kind of focused in on it. It’s pretty cool to kind of witness that.”
The tournament will take place Friday Oct. 24 in the Rec Center’s East Gym. Men’s, Women’s and Co-Rec leagues will be offered. All participants will receive IM Championship shirts. Register by
Oct. 22 Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. at http://www.imleagues.com/usf. UPDATE: Registration has been extended for an extra day!