“Goalball” Helps Local Visually Impaired Kids Get Active, Builds - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

“Goalball” Helps Local Visually Impaired Kids Get Active, Builds Confidence

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Kids and their families had a chance to put on the blindfolds and see just how hard it was to stop the ball. Kids and their families had a chance to put on the blindfolds and see just how hard it was to stop the ball.
RICHLAND, WA- The Northwest Association for Blind Athletes came to Richland Saturday to help local visually impaired children get active and build confidence.

It is not often you hear blind and athlete in the same sentence, but the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes in Washington paid a visit to a local group of kids in Richland.

They played a game the whole family could participate in.

“Goalball” is the name of the game.  It is a sport played by people who are blind and visually impaired.  It was thought of after WWII, to keep blind veterans active.                

The group of kids in Richland quickly learned the game and had fun. 

Parent Bryan Lynch felt good after seeing his daughter play the game.

"It's kind of inspiring to see her be able to try to get involved and learn how to play the game," Bryan Lynch, parent of child participating.

Lynch's daughter, Macy, said her favorite part was throwing the ball.

Nearly 10 kids came out to play.  Director of Programs Stacey Gibbins explained how giving these kids and their families the chance to experience this game was important.

"We're giving them the opportunity to play together, to be together, have really great memories, start building that confidence, and also getting them excited to play sports and seek out opportunities," said Gibbins.

So what exactly is “goalball?”  Three players on each side are blindfolded and have to stop the opposite side from scoring.  Each side rolls the ball towards the other side, while the other side tries to stop it from passing the goal line.

The ball has a special bell inside, so it makes noise every time it rolls.  All the players are blindfolded so everyone is on the same level.

"...just throwing the balls with blindfolds," said Elijah Gonzales, a participate, when he explained the hardest part.

"It's really exciting for someone that's visually impaired because someone can finally understand what they're going through.  They kind of develop as players together."

This was the first time the group has ever done an event in the Tri-Cities, but they hope to do another activity in the fall.

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