Importance of Soccer for Disabled Persons
Playing and participating in sports at any whether its high school, college or club level can be a key part of an unforgettable experience and that which have an immensely powerful and lasting impact on a student’s personal and social life. Among the many benefits sports offer, participation in extracurricular athletic activities provides you with an ample amount of opportunities to socialize, developing of leadership skills, focus and physical fitness. It is not much of a secret that sports help to shape the life of every individual. From a very early age, participating in sports can teach you valuable life lessons about discipline, grit and teamwork that may prove essential later on. Students with disabilities are no different. Like their colleagues without disabilities, disabled students benefit greatly from participating in sports.
However, much to their dismay, we know that students with disabilities are most often denied the chance to participate in any sports along with denying them the chance to earn the respect that comes with it. This is just plain wrong. Mature and knowledgeable adults create the possibilities for participation of both children and youth whether they have a disability or not depending on their abilities. Students with disabilities must be judged on the basis of their talent and their individual abilities and should never be excluded because of generalizations, false assumptions, prejudices or stereotyping.
How Soccer for Disabled Persons can be Helpful?
Among sports, soccer is one of the best team sports to attempt for the disables as it is fairly simple and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Every individual needs regular recreational activities and disabled individuals are no different. Soccer can be that activity which helps the disabled in developing skills, promoting good health, relieving stress, facilitating social interactions, and providing much needed joy for living. Soccer provides athletes with a disability, immense opportunities to experience, enjoy and succeed in sport. Disabled athletes, by virtue of soccer may gain self-confidence which they seriously lack in most cases and transfer the success from the playing field to become more active, responsible and better citizens of a society. Soccer is not just a mere sport for them. It’s the process of having the belief in themselves and a character building experience for them. Disabled athletes are provided with the opportunity to train physically mentally and emotionally which not only helps them on the field but provides them with the strength of coping up with the difficult situations and circumstances of life.
Playing soccer and other sports provides the disabled with much needed exercise and helps them in developing motor skills. Physical activities and exercise associated with soccer can even improve social and cognitive skills for children and youth with a disability. But the most important thing is that soccer and other sports are fun. Some major benefits of soccer for disabled individuals are listed below:
- Perceived sense of freedom and independence.
- Self-competence through a better and improved sense of self-reliance and self-confidence.
- Improved ability to socialize which includes greater tolerance and understanding.
- Improved creative abilities.
- Greater sense of humor.
- Enhanced quality of life.
Organizations and Associations
There are many organizations and associations that recognize the growth in soccer for players with disabilities. Greater representation is being made at an international level for them through events which helps give them a morale boost and the growing interest from players at the grassroots level. At present, there are six recognized forms of soccer at an international level for players with a disability. These include:
- Blind and Partially Sighted
- Cerebral Palsy
- Learning Disability
- Deaf and Hearing Impaired
These organizations help to encourage players to reach their goals and nurture a love for soccer in them. Furthermore, these organizations promote the opportunities for the disabled individuals to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience, joy and develop skills and friendships just by virtue of soccer. Thus, soccer not only helps the disabled on the playing field, it nurtures their character and helps them transform into a confident and soulful individuals.
Making a Difference
Soccer helps to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of the disabled children and youth at all levels and competitions whether on the field or off the field. It helps them in character building and provides them with a much needed self confidence so that they can carry on their lives in a way which as close to the lives of people without disability (in other words normal). There are hundreds of children with disabilities who need a physical activity like soccer to help them get their life on the right track and they can be provided with the opportunity to play soccer through different organizations which work for the welfare of the disabled.