Thursday, October 7, 2010

Boundaries Are Only the Limits of the Imagination

As the father of a child born with Dandy-Walker Syndrome, I can say that once we get past the mourning of our child’s disabilities (which unfortunately numerous parents never do), we are constantly amazed by the things they are not limited to. Add ImageWe find ourselves battling within, trying to push them to, and beyond their limits, all the while allowing them to realize there really are no limits.


All too often I have quarreled with family members, in-laws, school teachers and even doctors who constantly tell my daughter, “you can’t do that, let me do it for you”. There is always a little voice inside my head screaming at them, “Stop telling her she can’t do that! Help her learn how to do it for herself. She already has a physical disability, why do you want to impose an emotional disability as well!?”


Twelve years ago, a new “all-encompassing” sport was developed here in Switzerland by a small group of friends with family members with varied disabilities. The idea behind the game is to allow persons with, and without disabilities to compete in a sport based on the very ideals of “Fair-play”. Taking a little from Handball and a little of Football (Soccer for Americans) RAFROBALL was created. The name was created from the names of its founders, Thierry RApillard, Lionel and Jonas FROssard and Prince BALLestraz.

The philosophy and principals are very simple -

• allow everyone, with or without a disability to participate in sport and to have fun;
• to respect the spirit of sports, team spirit, fair-play, equality and friendship;
• to help the non disabled understand and appreciate disabilities;
• to promote integration between the disabled world and the non disabled world.



Every player’s ability or disability is taken into consideration when forging their position on the team. The teams are composed of 5 players on each side. All non-disabled players are required to play in a wheel-chair. The severely disabled wheel-chair bound, and blind team members are allow a “motor”, an able bodied person to move them on the court and act as “surrogate” in catching or blocking the ball, yet the player has to do the passing. The teams are allowed 1 “walker” (not in a chair).

To explain in detail how the game is played would be a little tedious perhaps for a short article whose purpose is to explain “The Boundary Breaker”, suffice to say that there are currently 7 teams in the Federation that play in the Championship tournaments. It has been a long road getting to where we are today, and in the end we all have a great deal of fun. I would invite you to visit the website (only in French, with a little German thrown in there for the fun of it) http://www.rafroball.ch/

Far too many people in our society that do not have any discernable disabilities are bound and disabled by their fear and misunderstanding of those who do have disabilities.


This month’s Boundary Breakers are all the Rafroballers: People learning, growing and integrating, working together to break their physical and emotional boundaries.







Submitted by James Healey, Webmaster; Know No Boundaries

"Personally, I dedicate this to my daughter and my son. We have been breaking our own boundaries for 16 years now. " - Jim

No comments: