Having won the School Games Federation of the Year award in 2017, the British American Football Association (BAFA) are busy working on the next phase of their development across schools.
After several weeks of intense discussion and planning with Gravesend Dynamite club founder Jason Owen (Wales wheelchair rugby league player and England wheelchair rugby 7's coach) BAFA’s Manager for Schools, Rob Rooksby, ran the first of several planned developmental sessions at the club’s training venue in Northfleet, Kent.
Rooksby said ‘It is important to develop the sport for the School Games in its most inclusive forms. The concept of wheelchair flag football has been a challenge but working with the Youth Sport Trust and with Jason has allowed us to develop a new and exciting version of the sport that maintains the values and ethos of the Youth Sport Trust whilst preserving, we believe, the spirit and practice of American Football.’
Whilst certainly not a complete format at the moment, significant steps forward were taken at the session with the help and input of the players themselves. ‘Like all ‘first sessions’, Rooksby says, ‘play was ‘ragged and messy’ to start with but by the end, everyone could see how the new format worked, and it began to look ‘clean and effective’. Fantastic effort and input from a group of awesome players!’. With Jason having recently joined the Touchdown Team (BAFA’s schools development arm) and once the format has been finalised, it will be developed throughout the South East initially and then nationally as the official schools’ format.
Rooksby finished by saying 'It is likely that wheelchair sports clubs may add this to their repertoire of wheelchair sports given its unique and very different nature and there is no reason a new BAFA wheelchair flag football league could not be created.'
Photo c/o BAFA