KMTV, a Kent-focused online TV station, visited last week with the Gravesend Dynamite Wheelchair Sports Club, who are participating in a BAFA-led initiative to develop the sport of Wheelchair American Football in the UK.
BAFA Schools lead, Rob Rooksby, told KMTV:
It’s taken a lot of work to actually get the format so that it retains all the dynamics of ordinary American Football, which is actually quite difficult in a wheelchair, simply because of the laws of physics. In the NFL, American Football, they are taught to cover small areas of ground very very quickly, so that was the real challenge – how to create a dynamic snap.”
Dynamites Founder, Jason Owen, believes American Football is a growing sport in the UK and wanted to get in ahead of the curve:
“We’re always open to trying new sports, and I think American Football is a growing sport in the UK… Over in Wembley Stadium in October there’s the NFL coming over, Kent is particularly hot with American Football, there’s a number of clubs – the Kent Phoenix are doing great stuff with young juniors, and the Kent Exiles have just got promoted to the Premier League.”
“I think one of our main focuses is trying to replicate the running game as much as possible. Obviously we’ve got a shorter area [to play in]… so to try to replicate the game as much as possible takes a lot of careful thought, but I think we’ve achieved it – we’ve got everything really apart from the helmets and shoulder pads.
It’s high impact, it’s fast, it’s a smashing sport.”
The new format of American Football was launched by BAFA earlier this year, designed to support the NGB’s award-winning School Games initiative. A full guide to non-contact Wheelchair American Football is available at BAFASchools.org.