Coolbinia Bombers – Special Needs, Special Players
Tuesday, July 07 2015 @ 07:32 am ACST
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The following story is about an extraordinary football club with an incredible vision, and some of the finest footballers you could ever wish to meet. The Starkick program kicked off by the Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club in Perth, Western Australia is one of the most inspirational endeavours seen in Australian Rules football.
The article, written by Laura House for the Daily Mail Australia, looks at the program, its background, the people driving it and the kids who just love their footy. It is a fascinating insight into a club that has gone where few, if any, clubs have gone before, but where other clubs should dare to travel.
'When he's out there he's not a child with a disability - he's just a kid playing footy': Australia's first AFL team for children with special needs sees them play alongside their peers
Perth father of two Rob Geersen, 48, started Starkick in April
The club is part of the Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club
The team allows children with disabilities to play team sport with peers
The team accommodates for kids with all disabilities
Mr Geersen made balls with bells in them for blind children to hear
Sport opportunities for kids suffering from a disability are often in the form of separate, isolated programs.
But one Perth father has created a program that enables the kids to play AFL Auskick in a mainstream club alongside their peers.
Starkick was launched in April as part of the Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club and allows children with disabilities to play football as part of a Perth community club.
Starkick coordinator, founder and coach, Rob Geersen, 48, became more aware of the lack of inclusive sporting clubs when his son was diagnosed with meningitis at 13 months old and left with a brain injury.
‘There are loads of bits and pieces out there where kids with various disabilities can go and do things like riding and surfing but they don’t fall into a community club and we have found that everything is very isolated,’ the father of two told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I understand both sides of families that have kids with disabilities and those that don’t and when we were going through our son's illness it was a very isolating experience because your whole world changes and nothing is the same…you can’t do things you used to do.'
'The parents love it and I suppose the thing with this group is you couldn’t do this everywhere – not every community would be as accepting but our community has just embraced the kids and the families to come down and they love it and the support has been phenomenal,’ Mr Geersen said.
Some of the parents drive over 100 kilometres to make the games on a Sunday morning, with one family flying 1000 kilometres to get their son to the game around once a month.
To read the full story by Laura House in the Daily Mail Australia, click on the following link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3146725/When-s-s-not-child-disability-s-just-kid-playing-footy-Australia-s-AFL-team-children-special-needs-sees-play-alongside-peers.html