Newcastle United Foundation is providing the first specialist walking football programme connected to a Premier League club for people with head injuries from the charity’s new world-class facility in the heart of Newcastle.
A specialist weekly walking football session for participants with head injuries adds to the Foundation’s ten existing weekly walking football sessions delivered across the North East, 48 weeks of the year for men and women limited from playing faster paced games due to injury, age, mobility or health issues.
Newcastle United Foundation hosts the specialist sessions on its rooftop pitch of its new community hub, NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society, a five-minute walk from St. James’ Park.
The session is delivered in partnership with Headway – a national charity promoting the understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provides support for survivors, their families and carers – and law firm Irwin Mitchell, based in Gallowgate, Newcastle, which also assists people affected by brain injury.
Thomas Graham, Health and Wellbeing Senior Project Officer at Newcastle United Foundation who oversees the charity’s walking football programme, said: “We are proud to work with Headway who are a charity who share a common goal with us to provide meaningful opportunities for everyone to achieve their potential, inclusive of all ages and abilities.
“Walking football is a hugely popular programme for the Foundation and we know how much our participants value and enjoy meeting week after week to play, socialise and enjoy an hour on the pitch together.
“It’s the perfect entry-level sport for adults to boost their physical ability, but also their mental wellbeing, which has become increasingly important following the coronavirus crisis.”
He added: “Rules of walking football really minimise the risk of injury for players, so we can provide the perfect opportunity for participants with head injuries to enjoy being active in safe environment with specialist support.”
Figures from the The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum show that acquired brain injuries account for more than 950 hospital admissions a day, which is one hospital admission every 90 seconds.
Opportunities for community neurorehabilitation are key to improving the lives of people with head injuries to supplement specialist support.
Alistair McDonald, Chairman at Headway, said: “We are thrilled to run the first walking football programme for people with acquired brain injury in partnership with Newcastle United Foundation.
“We hope we can recruit more members who want to play and have a great time.”
Laura Mcilduff, serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell Newcastle, who helps people and their families access specialist rehabilitation and support following a brain injury, said: “Through our work we’ve seen on numerous occasions how sport has been able to help our clients with rehabilitation following serious injury or illness.
“We believe in building strong links within the communities in which we work and are proud to be supporting these sessions.
“We hope more people sign up to the programme and enjoy the physical and mental benefits they offer. Brain injury need not be a barrier to leading and enjoying an active life.”
Free walking football sessions for participants with head injuries take place every Monday, from 1pm to 2pm at NUCASTLE, NE4 6BQ. Anyone interested in joining the programme can email email@example.com
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