How Footy 4 Life is changing the game for football fans with disabilities

For Caleb Namatjira-McMillan, football is life. The 19-year-old may be wheelchair-bound, but that hasn’t stopped him from going to his local oval every week to play soccer with his friends.

With Category 1 Cerebral Palsy, he needs help with most tasks and will never be able to walk.

But his legal guardian, Anne-Marie Temple, says Caleb won’t be stopped from joining in and having fun.

“The friends he made here he classifies as his closest friends, and these people are now fundamental to his life,” Temple said.

“It allows him to have friends, have mentors and learn skills like footy kicking and hanging out.”

Going to your local oval or sports complex to play sports – or just get some exercise – is a luxury that most Australians can happily take for granted, but for a myriad of reasons not all members of the the society.

However, a unique Northern Territory program caters to anyone and everyone who just wants to get involved.

Tommy Dutton laughs wearing a Footy 4 Life t-shirt
Tommy Dutton of AFLNT, the founder of the Footy 4 Life program.ABC News: Ryan Liddle

Tommy Dutton is the Remote Development Manager of the Alice Springs office of the AFL Northern Territory and the founder of the Footy 4 Life Wellbeing Wednesday program.

“I just wanted to have a community program and what we found was that a lot of the clients that came in were mainly from the National Disability Insurance Scheme or people with disabilities, sort of looking at a program to be a part of of, rather than a spectator,” Dutton said.

Posted updated

Leave a Comment