Paul, aniridia and sports

Mixed ability teamI was born with aniridia and did the usual sports at comprehensive school. I was the only disabled person there never mind the only visually impaired pupil there. I never really liked playing rugby, football or cricket for the obvious reasons and lack of confidence, despite loving to watch the football on the telly and listening to the cricket on the radio.

After attending the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, I gained a bit of confidence from doing judo and karate. I also discovered parasport such as 5-a-side blind football.

I knew very little of the VI cricket scene until a few years ago when I went to a session that was set up by couple of people, from the Wolvhampton and Staffordshire. I loved it and still do, but now playing in Worcestershire).

Hugby players and coachesPeople at Worcester Warriors Rugby Club are trying to develop an adapted version of rugby for the visually impaired/blind community called hugby. You tackle someone with a big friendly hug. I love this idea and it’s keeps being developing with ideas from both coaches and players.

Recently a group of us with various disabilities including several of the hugby players went to Scotland to have a go at mixed ability rugby. I can tell you that as a person who was born with sight problems and from people who have lost their sight for whatever reasons over their lives, we loved it. Three of us had problems with too much light but I was the only one with aniridia.

So if you want to try sports because you love sport or want to keep fit or just to meet new people and have fun, search in your local area for sports that have been adapted for people who are visually impaired/blind. You never know, you may win gold in the next Paralympics or Commonwealth Games!

By Paul

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About Aniridia Network UK

A charity support group for people with the genetic visual impairment aniridia and their families in the UK. Our vision is that people with/associated with aniridia are hopeful, confident, supported and well informed regarding aniridia. Founded in 2000. Registered as a charity in 2011 with HMRC reference XT26830
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