Participants compete in teams of three and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents’ goal. Teams alternate throwing or rolling the ball from one end of the playing area to the other and players remain in the area of their own goal in both defense and attack. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Regardless of whether you can see or not, players wear blindfolds so that no one has an advantage.
Goalball gradually evolved into a competitive game during the 1950s and 1960s and was eventually nominated as a demonstration sport at the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto. The sport’s first world championship was held in Austria in 1978. Goalball was added to the program of the 1980 Summer Paralympics in Arnhem, becoming the first Paralympic sport designed exclusively for disabled players.
A student from the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, in attendance at the Goalball match, produced a short video about the students’ experience and how to play Goalball. Click here to see the video.