William gets rolling again
IT'S a game of strategy played at the Paralympic level, but for three-year-old William Brady, boccia provided a moment of sheer delight as he realised he could play with everyone else in the room.
Will's life has opened up after receiving a motorised wheelchair after a fundraising effort by the Gympie community.
Now he has had his first game of boccia.
Boccia is a bowling game similar to the Italian game of bocce.
It has been designed for people with some loss of functional arm and hand movement and for all ability levels.
A ramp can be used for those who are unable to throw.
William has Arthrogrythosis Multiplex Congenita with amnioplasia, a condition which creates severe muscle atrophy, joint contractions and muscle wastage, requiring him to be cared for full-time.
William was given the chance to join in at Gympie, thanks to MontroseAccess, a charity which provides care and support to people with a disability, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association and Avenue Support.
His mother, Celia Knight, said it was a special moment when William realised he could play equally, thanks to a height adjustable ramp.
"How great is it that people have created a sport that can be played by all ability levels," Ms Knight said.
"Lots of people don't understand how limiting different disabilities can be. It's nice to see him enjoying something he can do."
The Gympie boccia day was a one-off event. Participants in the area currently have to travel to Maryborough or Brisbane for regular games.
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association is seeking a coordinator or community group to run a boccia program in the Gympie area so more people can take up the sport.
Sport and Recreation Officer Ian Jones said while some knowledge of the game would be helpful, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association would provide some training and support for the program coordinator.
"Anyone can play the game and there are lots of young players coming into the sport," Ian said
"It's a competitive game, with a great deal of strategy and skill involved, which gives the players a lot of satisfaction.
"Suddenly here's a sport they can participate in. They go from a world where people see them as having a disability to being in complete control when they roll onto the court. It's a really empowering game."
Anyone interested in coordinating boccia in Gympie can contact Mr Jones on 07 3253 3333. For more information about boccia, visit the Sporting Wheelies website.