Goalball is a team sport designed specifically for blind and vision impaired athletes, originally devised in 1946 by the Austrian Hanz Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle as a means of assisting the rehabilitation of vision impaired World War II veterans. 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 defence and attack. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 12-minute halves (formerly 10-minute halves). Eyeshades allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players and must be warn at all times during game play. For large or official tournaments, the expectation is that eyepatches are normally worn under eyeshades to ensure complete coverage of the eye, and prevent any vision should the eyeshades become dislodged.

The sport’s first world championship was held in Austria in 1978.

Goalball was added to the programme of the 1980 Summer Paralympics in Arnhem, becoming the first Paralympic sport designed exclusively for disabled players. International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), responsible for a range of sports for the blind and partially sighted, is the official international governing body for goalball.

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For a more in depth explanation about the game of goalball, please visit the Wikipedia page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goalball