PITTSBURG - Pittsburg State University students studying therapeutic recreation will soon learn more about a sport designed to satisfy the competitive spirit of persons who are blind or have limited sight.
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Jim Debus, an athlete and advocate for the blind and visually impaired, will demonstrate the game of goalball at PSU’s Student Recreation Center. Debus is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Goalball, one of the sports in the modern Paralympics, was invented in 1946 as a way to help with the rehabilitation of disabled World War II veterans. The game pits two teams of three blindfolded persons, facing each other, across a gym floor. The object is to roll a bouncy rubber ball, which has bells in it, past three defenders guarding a goal about 29 feet wide. The players rely on the sound the ball makes to react and defend the goal.
Assistant Professor Laura Covert, who teaches therapeutic recreation in PSU’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, said the demonstration will help her students learn some important lessons.
“The goalball demonstration will benefit the students by not only showing them a sport they could teach future clients, but will also provide awareness to those who attend that there are highly competitive sport opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” Covert said.
Covert said therapeutic recreation is a type of therapy that uses recreation and activity-based interventions as to rehabilitate an individual. Students who graduate from PSU’s therapeutic recreation program may go on to work in hospitals, behavioral health, fitness centers, city parks and rec departments, retirement communities, schools, and adapted sport programs.