Being diagnosed as blind or partially sighted does not mean that the person has to give up on his favorite sports altogether. In fact, there are many sports which have been adapted for those who are blind or partially sighted, as well as entirely new sports only open to people with a sight condition. With that in mind here are the following sports that can be played by visually impaired.
Football: Football is still fully accessible and there are many sports clubs and schools all over the country who field competitive teams. It can be played either indoors or outdoors, using an audible ball and standard five-a-side goals. British Blind Sport (BBS) organizes national competitions for both partially sighted and totally blind teams.
Golf: Golfing for the blind and partially sighted has been one of the more popular sports over recent years. All blind golfers are assisted by a sighted guide who ensures the club head is correctly positioned behind the ball, provides a description of the hole and the distance to hit the shot. The handicapping system for blind golfers also allows for full competition between blind and sighted golfers. There are separate organizations that organize golf for the blind and partially sighted.
Tandem Cycling: Tandem cycling has been rapidly increasing in popularity following the home nation’s success in the Commonwealth Games this year and can be pursued recreationally or as a competitive sport. There are a number of clubs and organizations in the UK for blind and partially sighted people who organize such games.
Table Tennis: Table Tennis has been described as one of the easier sports to adapt to following a loss in sight. For many partially sighted people, table tennis can be played without any need for specialist equipment or modification to the rules.
Swimming: Many swimming pools welcome swimmers with sight loss during public sessions, and will also provide special sessions for organized groups. As swimming for the blind and partially sighted becomes more and more popular there is an increasing number of regional, national and international competitions held every year. British Blind Sport (BBS) hold a swimming gala annually for people of all ages.
Mountaineering: Rock climbing and mountaineering are very physically demanded sports and are quite the step up from rambling. A number of blind and partially sighted people take part in this sport with the help of sighted instructors and leaders.
Goalball: Goalball is another game designed specifically with the blind and partially sighted in mind and over recent years has been growing hugely in popularity with both men’s and women’s annual national competitions and involvement at international and Paralympic level. The game is played indoors on a rectangular “pitch” that has dimensions corresponding to a volleyball court. The goal posts are positioned on each team’s baseline; a heavy audible ball is used.
Archery: This is another sport which has been successfully adapted for the blind and partially sighted audience. The equipment required is the same for fully sighted archers but there are a number of extra aids available if necessary. These vary but those commonly used are a block and board for positioning the feet and a vertical stand which grips an adjustable horizontal point of flexible material, for example, paint brush bristles for guiding the position of the hand of the forward aiming arm. Electronic aiming aids have also been developed but are yet to be adopted extensively.