Playing ball, and giving confidence, for blind kids

The game is simple, and specialized for the blind

(CNN) – Blindness doesn’t keep one group of kids off the kickball field. Each one of the kids is visually impaired, but it doesn’t stop them from kicking, running, and sliding into base. They’re playing beep kickball.

Judy Byrd, the founder of beep kickball, explains, “It’s played with 3 pieces of equipment. A kickball that beeps, 2 bases which buzz, and blindfolds. All the kids wear blindfolds to equalize the differences in vision.”

Byrd says the rules are simple.

“The kid kicks the ball and he runs to the base that’s buzzing. His job is to tag it before one of the 5 fielders out in the field, locates the ball and picks it up.”

Eleven year old Christopher Abel was born blind, and says he loves beep kickball. He told CNN, “It’s exciting when you feel your foot hit the ball really hard and then you know it’s going flying.”

Coach Melissa Allen says the benefits go beyond the physical. She said, “I think the sport itself it gives the kids a lot of confidence. A lot of times, visually impaired children are not able to play athletic team sports.”

David Abel, Christopher’s dad, says the freedom of running around is great for his son’s confidence. He said, “For him, it’s just the running. Getting used to, with him being blind, running in an area where he’s not going to run into something. He’s not going to collide with somebody.”

And for this young team, playing ball and having fun is what it’s all about.

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