Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Blind and vision impaired Aboriginal kids in Tennant find a love for football

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A new partnership between John Moriarty Football and Australian Blind Football will ensure blind and vision impaired Aboriginal children in the Barkly will have the opportunity to participate in a game changing football initiative.

JMF participant
All inclusive sports: Vision impaired JMF participant, Alyawarr boy Tarrant Jackson (16 years), celebrates a goal. Photo: Tennant & District Times.

According to Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, eye and vision problems are the most common long-term health conditions experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Thanks to the John Moriarty Football (JMF) and Australian Blind Football (ABF) partnership blind and vision impaired (BVI) Aboriginal children will be able to participate in JMF’s transformational program through the use of audible balls. It will also facilitate coach education to build knowledge and capacity to provide football opportunities for people who are blind or partially sighted.

JMF Co-Founder and Co-Chair and the first Indigenous footballer to be selected to play for Australia, Yanyuwa man John Moriarty said the partnership is game changing.

JMF participants
Vision impaired JMF participants practice with audible footballs.
Photo: Tennant & District Times.

“Our program is designed to address the barriers of football participation for Aboriginal girls and boys in remote and regional communities, whether they are caused by remoteness, lack of sporting facilities, economic disadvantage, and now, vision. We know that football has the power to unlock the potential of Indigenous children, just as it did for me,” he said.

JMF Tennant Creek Community Coach Warumungu man Patrick Coleman said JMF in Tennant Creek has two visually impaired young fellas who participate in the program.

“When we got the audible footballs from ABF they got really excited and happy,” he said.

“It was a really great feeling to see their reaction because not only could they practice their skills, they could also participate in a fun game with the rest of their peers and to me they looked more confident.”

A core purpose for ABF is to develop and support grassroots participation opportunities for people of all ages, genders, abilities and levels of vision loss to play football.

Each week JMF delivers to over 2,000 Indigenous girls and boys aged 2 to 18 years in 19 remote and regional communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

Tennant & District Times 20 May 2022

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 20 May 2022.

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