Floorball for Players with Disabilities
Looking for a sport that will give you both a physical and mental challenge? Then floorball may be the right activity for you. Floorball is probably as adaptable as it gets since just about anyone can get started and play. Floorball can be played for fun, competitively, alone or in a group. In fact, floorball is played by thousands of players with some form of disability, and floorball has become an activity of choice for many disabled individuals due to the simplicity of the game. As an example, disabled programs have been implemented around the world in countries such as Sweden, Finland and the United States.
What is floorball and what sets the game apart from other sports? Floorball is a type of hockey that has its roots in similar activities such as floor and field hockey. The game only requires the use of sticks and a ball which makes it a perfect activity for most players, regardless of their age, gender and physical ability. Unlike other stick sports, floorball sticks are extremely lightweight (approx. 8 oz), which makes them safe and easy to use by nearly all players. The best news is that floorball equipment, in comparison to many other sports, is quite affordable. Where can you play? Anywhere and that is the beauty of it! Although the game was intended to be played indoors, floorball can just as easily be played outside on most surfaces including concrete, turf and asphalt.
Why is floorball such a great Adaptive Sport? Due to the very basic nature of the game, floorball is adaptable to virtually any environment. The equipment, number of players, size of the court, type of surface and the implemented rules can all be modified in order to suit the needs of the players. Therefore, floorball is an excellent activity for individuals with either a physical disability, cognitive disability or both. In fact, floorball is widely played by people with a vast range of disabilities. For instance, wheelchair floorball is a popular activity and uses the same rules as traditional floorball. The only difference is that the participants are seated instead of ambulatory. Floorball is also popular within the Special Olympics where it is played by individuals with cognitive disabilities. Floorball within the Special Olympics has easily been modified to fit their target group, where games are played 3 versus 3 on a smaller court, instead of the traditional 5 versus 5.
With adaptive floorball, there is no right or wrong. Players can take part in the game based on their own ability. As already mentioned, floorball can be modified in virtually any way, in order to suit the needs of the intended players. Floorball is not just a fun activity, there are also numerous physical benefits associated with playing floorball. As an example, floorball helps the enhancement of both the gross as well as the fine motor skills.
The United States Floorball Association is actively working to expand the awareness of floorball as an adaptive sport through different initiatives. The main emphasis lies on partnering with local, regional and national organizations in order to make floorball readily available to the disabled community across the United States.