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Blind football draw for staff team

Monday, 5 December 2016 1:20pm

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Associate Professor Chris Button attempts to kick the ball in the inaugural staff versus students blind football game on the Union Lawn at lunchtime today.

Staff came from behind to equalise in the last minute – taking the score to 2-2 – in the inaugural staff versus students blind football match played on the Dunedin campus today to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

"It is a really great way of getting people together and celebrating inclusiveness."

The game, one of a number of inclusive sports games played on the Union Lawn over lunchtime, saw blindfolded players miss the ball, bang into each other and laugh as they vied for the win. Despite each team’s unblindfolded goalie shouting directions, on many occasions the players clustered metres away from the ball and kicked the air, much to the amusement of those who had come along to watch.

Event organiser Disability Information & Support Student Advisor Jenny Weeks says this is the first time the University of Otago has observed IDPD, an event which aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

“It is a really great way of getting people together and celebrating inclusiveness,” she says. “Particularly as Otago works hard to improve accessibility on its campuses.”

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The staff blind football team (back row, from left) Dr Sally Shaw, Robyn Zink and Larena Hoeber (front row, from left) Matt Jenkins and Chris Button.

Associate Professor Chris Button of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences who organised and participated in the blind football match says today’s game was the first time he had donned an eye mask before taking to the field, and he was both nervous and excited to give it a try.

“Football has given me so much as an able-bodied person. It’s great to be able to showcase this as a way for people with disabilities to express themselves as well.”

Following the sports event, the film/documentary Becoming Bulletproof was screened in the Union Commonroom.

Today’s events were a partnership between the University, OUSA, ParaFed Otago, Dunedin Boccia Club, CCS Disability Action and Disability Information Service.