Sport for all at VisAbility

Perhaps it’s new technology keeping our children occupied or maybe it’s because more parents are working full time, but at VisAbility we’re experiencing a decline in sporting participation.

It’s part of a national trend and one we’re trying to reverse. According to research (link opens in new window), one in every two Australian girls are quitting sport by the age of 15.

We want to encourage greater sporting participation among children and adults and so a steering group has been set up. Ryan Honschooten, from our Youth Services Team says they want to revitalise sport among the low vision and blind community.

Team members of Goalball hold banner which reads Goalball Western Australia
Goalball is one of the most popular sports among the blind and vision impaired community especially among younger people

“I’d especially like more youngsters take up sporting activities and get greater involvement from parents. People lead busy lives but there are so many benefits with sport. We’re not talking just physical benefits but also the benefits for mental health,” he explains.

“What I’m experiencing as an adult is that there is a group of us, vision impaired or blind people, who throw ourselves into sport. We want more numbers so we aren’t spreading ourselves so thin on the ground,” Ryan adds.

Sport Steering Committee

A steering committee has now been established with representatives from different blind sporting groups to promote blind sports across WA.

The creation of the Perron Community Centre (link opens in new window) this year will only help to achieve this aim. The committee hopes to secure extra funding to launch more sporting projects. Members are keen to receive feedback from the public. If you have a particular sport you enjoy the committee wants to hear from you.

Five cricket players stand next to each other from left to right Meet, from left to right, Matt Cameron, Bradley Brider, Steffan Nero, Ryan Honschooten,and Michael Berg.Cricketers bowled over by success

While we want more sports participation, we mustn’t forget sports enthusiasts pushing themselves to the very limit to achieve feats never thought possible.

Take for example Ryan Honschooten and clients Michael Berg, Bradley Brider, Steffan Nero and Matt Cameron. All five travel to the National Blind Cricket Camp in April.

Each one will be hoping for a place in the Australian team competing in the Blind Ashes in London this year. Winning the Lord’s Taverners International Blind Cricket Series – the Ashes – is a much coveted achievement.

Bradley Brider, Captain of the WA Blind Cricket team says with 24 people going on camp but only 17 places available, each person will be out to impress.

These training camps are really competitive as you are vying for a place. I’ve been all around the world with blind cricket including South Africa and India to compete in Blind Cricket World Cups but to play in the Blind Cricket Ashes is just as exciting

Brad Brider
Blind cricket player