Something exciting happened during March for all those sporting fans out there – The 2016 Footy season kicked off!

On the 9th March, David “Lethal Legs” Burman welcomed guests to a season opening event at Keilor Stadium in Melbourne’s Western suburbs. He did so with a speech he prepared on his Dynavox – a speech generating device that he uses to communicate.

David was welcoming players, supporters and guests to the season’s first Balloon Football event.

David Burman's speech

David “Lethal Legs” Burman welcomes guests to the opening of the 2016 BFL season

The Balloon Football League (BFL) is a form of AFL that has been designed to suit the needs of players with complex physical and multiple disabilities. Invented in 1995 by three footy fans with a disability, BFL offers people the chance to get involved in a competitive and social team sport.

BFL Creators Cam West and Adam Barry were amongst the many players and spectators that attended the season launch

BFL Creators Cam West and Adam Barry were amongst the many players and spectators that attended the season launch

Competitors battle for possession in the season opening BFL game

Competitors battle for possession in the season opening BFL game

BFL is played on an indoor basketball court using a large balloon and follows similar rules to AFL. There are currently more than 260 people playing regularly in five competitive leagues across Victoria. Athletes with disabilities drive the sport through direct participation on the field, in leadership roles such as umpiring and coaching, as well as off field through league committees.

David has been playing BFL for more than five years and has taken a leadership role in his team, the Shooting Stars, who won the Western premiership cup three years running from 2011-2013. In 2011, David won the Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation- Master Sportsperson of the Year Award for his outstanding performance and dedication to Balloon Football.

As part of the season launch, more than 40 players from Scope’s Northern, Western and Southern divisions competed in A-grade and B-grade competition. The Bendigo representative team beat the Melbourne “All Stars” for the A-grade cup. Ewen Mowatt from the North won the “Best on Ground” award.

The Bendigo team enjoy the spoils of victory from their opening game

The Bendigo team enjoy the spoils of victory from their opening game

2015 was a hugely successful season for Victoria’s newest league, BFL Barwon. Last year’s players improved so much that they ended up playing an end of season blockbuster match in Torquay against the all-conquering champions from Bendigo. This received unprecedented media coverage through the region.

2016 looks to be even bigger and better. BFL Barwon is getting ready for its second season and starts on the 19th April.

Balloon Football is a fun and competitive sport and is a great way to make friends and keep fit. For information on Balloon Football, see the video!

A BFL player celebrates after scoring a goal

A BFL player celebrates after scoring a goal

For information on how you can get involved please contact:

Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre

Ph: 03 9843 2000

Email: circ@scopeaust.org.au

 

By Jemima Aitchison & Manny Pimentel