A number of amputees playing on Liberia’ s amputee soccer team report feeling a sense of pride and belonging (ICRC, 2009). They have been given an opportunity to contribute to the recovering of their war-torn country as they are now able to bring a sense of pride to Liberia as it is represented in the Amputee World Cup. Liberia also held the African Cup of Nations in 2008 a won. In addition, the amputees are able to travel for soccer games within and outside of Liberia. In fact, as one soccer player reported, prior to playing for Liberia’ s amputee soccer team he had never imagined having the opportunity to visit countries such as Russia where he was able to represent Liberia and meet and mingle with other disabled athletes from around the world (ICRC, 2009). Many of Liberia’ s amputees participating on the Liberian amputee soccer team report feeling more inclined to ‘ look toward the future’ as opposed to remaining stuck in the troubling past (ICRC, 2009).
These amputees feel that they have not only made their country proud but have made their families and communities proud.
Moreover, amputee football players in Liberia report that they believe that their participation in the amputee soccer sport has heightened awareness of amputees’ conditions and has drawn attention to the fact that they are able to make contributions to society (ICRC, 2009). A key positive implication of Liberia’ s amputee football team is the mere fact that it provides an opportunity for disabled individuals to participate in a sporting or leisure activity. As French and Hainsworth (2001: 35) report, many disabled persons are unable to participate in sport because of obstacles that exist in these activities.
For example, French and Hainsworth (2001: 35) conducted a qualitative study in which sports and leisure services providers in the West Midlands in England were interviewed. The study found that although a majority of the service providers implemented disability policies enforcement of these policies were hampered based on a poor understanding of disabilities.
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