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Football for the blind in Brazil

Football for the blind in Brazil

With the World Cup underway in Brazil, sportanddev caught up with Gabriel to find out more about the organisation's work and how football can help blind people in Brazil.

Gabriel Mayr from Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind (Urece Esporte e Cultura) in Rio de Janeiro developed the first Brazilian blind female football team and has coordinated the audiodescriptive commentary in Brazilian stadiums.

sportanddev: What does the World Cup mean for your work?

The FIFA World Cup 2014 means a lot for us because for the first time in Brazil, the blind fans will have an audiodescriptive commentary in the stadiums. Urece was invited to implement the audiodescriptive commentary in Brazil and we will be responsible for the legacy of the project. The team is working hard to make this happen after the World Cup as well to implement the system in other cities.

sportanddev: How does football feature in the work at Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind?

We develop several sports for the blind at Urece; goalball, athletics, swimming, and chess, but the one that has always provided the greatest experiences and opportunities for Urece is definitely football for the blind. People usually don't expect a blind person to be able to play football, and once they watch it, they’re amazed! So, football is for Urece one of the strongest tools of rehabilitation, inclusion and sensitisation about the abilities of a person with visual disability.

sportanddev: In practice, how do you overcome the challenges that face the visually impaired when playing sports?

We have to adapt the teaching process, relying more on words and tactile information, instead of using visual clues. Cones aren't used at our activities, but instead we have someone clapping the hands to indicate a point to make a different action (turn, sprint skip, etc). We use a ball with rattles inside, in this way, the athletes can hear the ball, instead of just having visual information.

sportanddev: What do you believe football and sports can do for people in Brazil, if anything?

Sport is an important tool to change lives. For blind people it represents the possibility of independence, self-esteem and confidence. Football, in particular, has the great power to make a blind guy more aware of his own body.


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Rachel May


Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 23:00