OPAF launched the inaugural First Kick Amputee Soccer Clinic on Saturday, April 25, at the Sports Connection, Charlotte, North Carolina. First Kick is a cooperative effort between OPAF, the United States Amputee Soccer Association, and Carolina’s Amputee Soccer Association; it offers individuals with amputations the chance to try out their soccer skills and drills.
The three-hour clinic was led by U.S. National Amputee Soccer Team Head Coach Roy Howell and goalkeeper Eric Westover, and supported by physical therapy graduate students from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. The event was sponsored by Rx Textiles, Monroe, North Carolina; SPT Technology, Monroe; Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, headquartered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and Cascade Orthopedic Supply, Chico, California.
A dozen participants were fitted with arm crutches, which level the playing aspect of amputee soccer as the player may only use his or her sound limb to advance the ball. Participants worked on their “crutching” skills and then worked with moving the ball within and between cones as well as advancing the ball, passing, and shots on goal. The clinic concluded with a full match play with both amputee and sound players, all using arm crutches and having a great time.