DISABILITY: SPORT – GOING DOWN THE PAN?

As a human being, we’re constantly being told to do things because they’re ‘good for us’.

‘Make sure you get your five a day’, ‘always look both ways before crossing the road’ and ‘get 30 minutes of exercise each day.’

But for someone with a serious muscular disability, is this achievable? I consider myself to be an independent man but most days I’ll only hit two of those targets.

Pan-football session at the MFC Foundation

So how do we make sports participation achievable for those of us who struggle with disabilities?

Normal football sessions are mainly targeted towards improving skills, building ability and in some cases trying to turn players into professionals.

But for a someone suffering from a disability, those aims aren’t realistic; what a disabled person needs is a session catered to their needs to increase enjoyment and participation.

Well, one charity in Middlesbrough is trying to to make this attainable through a range of sessions aimed at disabled persons.

Middlesbrough Football Club have their own charity – the MFC Foundation – and using their brand as an identity, they aim to promote social inclusion within the community.

They run programmes across the region aimed for a range of different disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome and pan- football.

 

What is pan-football? 

Pan-disability ‘relates to all forms of human disablement.’ This means that at a pan-football session you’re welcome regardless of what disability you suffer from.

Whether it’s a muscular disability, a brain injury or a genetic mutation, you are welcome at pan-football.

Although pan-football is a relatively new sport, there are more than 15,000 pan-disability teams in England.

There are also 2,000 affiliated disability teams that play across 36 county pan-disability football leagues.

I was invited to a pan-football session ran by the MFC Foundation…

 

Trainee Sports Journalist at Teesside University. Big Boro fan and also enjoy European football. Presenter on TUXtra Radio.

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