Floorball’s dynamic allows para-athletes to enjoy the sport without limitations.
The International Floorball Federation has been a great proponent of the sport of floorball both for abled bodied players as well as persons with disabilities. They have partnered with various organizations to introduce and help promote the sport throughout these communities. The IFF is represented through Special Olympics, the largest sports organization for persons with intellectual Disability. They partner with IWAS Powerchair Hockey, and the International Committee Wheelchair Floorball. Through these programs and organizations, and with the IFF’s continued focus on keeping floorball an inclusive sport many players for all walks of life have opportunities to play floorball.
The International Committee for Wheelchair Floorball was established in 2012, and is focused on developing the sport throughout the world. Currently there are seven countries competing in ICWF events. Manual wheelchair floorball is played using basically the same rules as floorball, including 5 v 5 and goalies. Wheelchair floorball is a fairly newer organized sport first represented in the Para Games in Breda, Netherland in 2011.
Another option for athletes is powerchair hockey (floorball) which is a sport for people in motorized wheelchairs. The field of play is roughly the size of a traditional basketball court and uses boards to create the rink. Five players may be on the court at any one time and players use both traditional floorball sticks, as well as a “T-Stick” which is attached to the wheelchair. The goals closer to the ground and are more rectangular in shape. The sport is played in 15 countries throughout the world from Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia.
These organizations do a wonderful job in creating an inclusive environment for athletes to compete and engage each other in new ways. I see a lot of opportunities within the US for floorball to reach these communities. There are sports currently offered such as sled hockey and wheelchair basketball there is still room for floorball. The more sports offered the more athletes than can have opportunities to compete in sports that they’re passionate about. If you’re reading this and are interested get involved, start a program in your area and get people playing.