Kalispell hosts Paralympic event for the visually impaired | Missoula Local News – NBCMontana.com
Goalball, Beepball, and track and field were the sports played in today’s Paralympics. They’re unique, and designed for those who are blind or visually impaired.
“You wear blindfolds and the game is all auditory; so the balls have bells in them or there’s beeping bases or the ball has a beeper in it,” said Stacey Gibbins, from the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes.
Goalball is played with a special ball filled with bells and players are blindfolded. The objective is to roll the ball passed the other team. By sound alone, the team must locate and block the ball.
“The people who are participating, they’re just so excited and happy and a lot of them have never done something like this before and parents have never seen them do something like this before so it can be a very emotional experience,” Gibbins said.
“Unfortunately, 70 percent of blind or visually impaired youth are not participating in sports or physical activity or even a limited physical education classroom. So, it’s really limited for their options,” she said.
“70 percent of adults that are unemployed are blind or visually impaired and the reason why we believe having them be active is because that self confidence helps them grow as people and then hopefully later on in life translates to better job outcomes,” Gibbins said.
“That social part of life that is missing, they get to connect here and so we’ve had people meet here and parents make play dates after that so they can interact with someone who is more like them,” said Gibbins.
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