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US Disability Soccer Network

If you love the beautiful game and want to exercise more, playing soccer is something you should consider. The US Soccer Disability Committee created a network to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play soccer. On their website, usdisabilitysoccernetwork.com, you'll find different organizations providing services, training, and competitions. These are some of the many categories of disability soccer that athletes can take part in at all different levels and ages:

Blind Soccer

Blind soccer, also known as football-5-a-side, is an official sport in the Paralympic Games. The rules of the traditional game have been modified and adapted for athletes with visual impairments. There are five players on each team, and the match is played on a solid surface. There is no offside rule, and players have to wear blindfolds. The ball contains small bells, helping players locate it based on its noise when it travels. Finally, the goalkeepers are usually sighted but are confined to the goal area. 

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The Importance of Promoting the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Sports and Tips to Implement it at Home

An important part of childhood is participating in sports. Most of us grew up playing baseball, basketball or soccer with our friend from their neighborhood. Physical activity provides many benefits for children, including those with disabilities. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, approximately 7% of the US population accounts for children with disability. However, there is a lack of opportunities for their participation in recreational sports and physical activities. In recent years, many efforts have been made from different international organizations to try to close this gap and create more opportunities. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of children with disabilities have reported low levels of cardiorespiratory strength, less muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity than typical children.

Benefits of sport participation

The main reason to participate in sports is to increase physical activity to help reverse impaired mobility, optimize physical functioning, and increase overall well-being. Playing sports plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of normal muscle strength, flexibility and a better joint structure and function. Good levels of muscular strength and endurance help increase bone mass, reduce injuries from falls, and provide a greater ability to complete daily activities.
By participating in sports children can leave behind a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and other health complications. Sports participation also enhances the psychological well-being of children with disabilities; it provides opportunities to make friends, be creative, develop self-identity and live a more meaningful life. For example, Special Olympics athletes show better self-esteem, physical competence, and peer acceptance when compared with non-participants. Finally, participation in regular physical activity can foster independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork among children with disabilities.

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