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.
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…
Hi there, I’m Sam Fletcher and I have just finished my final year of Sport Journalism at Teesside University. I am due to graduate with a First-Class Honours Degree with an NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism and 80wpm shorthand.
Sport Journalism, BA (Hons)
After completing a work experience placement with Middlesbrough Football Club, in their media and communications department, I knew that I wanted to work in the industry of sports media. It was that placement which cemented my passion for journalism and the production of content for fans to engage and interact with. As much as the degree has benefitted my journalistic knowledge and skillset, I believe my greatest achievements at university have come through the work I have produced outside the classroom. Some of these include working closely with Spennymoor Town as a commentator, Middlesbrough Football Club as an audio descriptive commentator and the Daily Mirror producing written articles for online publication.
Software & Hardware Proficiencies
I am skilled in Adobe software such as Audition, InDesign and Premiere Pro.
Employment, Work Experience & Volunteering
I have paid employment with Middlesbrough Football Club for providing audio descriptive commentary for partially-sighted supporters. During this past season, I have volunteered with Spennymoor Town as a commentator broadcasting live, online through mixlr. This commentary also features on their highlights packages which can be found via YouTube. I also produced 16 articles for the Mirror Online during a week’s work experience placement in November, all of which were published on their online website. My other work has been featured on Sky News, Tees Valley Sport and the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation.
I have shown in previous roles that I am passionate about sports broadcasting, particularly commentary and written articles. But despite my degree being Sport Journalism, I am not solely limited to sport. I have also produced content on environmental issues, disability benefits and politics. I believe this highlights my ability to report on a vast range of topics and key issues.