A. Mousa1, S. Al-Barawi1, S. Baker2, C.A. Barth3
1International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Physical Rehabilitation Program, Gaza, Palestine, 2European Amputee Football Federation, General Sec and Amputee Football Devloopment Advisor, County Limerick, Ireland, 3International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Physical Rehabilitation Program, Geneva, Switzerland

Background: The Artificial Limb and Polio Centre (ALPC) - ICRC collaboration began in 2007 with the aim of developing comprehensive physical rehabilitation (PR) services for prosthetic and orthotic users, therefore in January 2019, ICRC PRP has started a cooperation with the Palestinian Amputee Football Association (PAFA) to support amputee football to provide social inclusion opportunities, the ultimate goal of PR for persons with disabilities (PwDs).

Purpose: The ICRC PRP supports initiatives of social inclusion and rehabilitation through sporting activities such as Wheelchair basketball since 2015. This has been expanded to other sport in 2019, the amputee football. Especially as noticed in the last two years that many young people lost their limbs in Gaza, as considered a conflict zone. The objective of this project is to ensure access for young PwDs to increased opportunities for social participation through the development & promotion of amputee football as a traditional sport generally among PwDs.

Methods: A partnership between ICRC & PAFA started in 2019 with significant relationship building fostered through regular planning meetings. A tournament for the five new teams was run to determine their needs and capacities. A training camp was then conducted by an ICRC amputee football consultant in 2019 for three weeks. sports uniforms, boots, elbow crutches, and other training materials were also provided. Another tournament has been conducted in 2020. The effect of this social inclusion activity was assessed through case studies. The project was monitored and reviewed periodically at an institutional level using various tools.

Results: Since 2019, there has been a marked increase in the number of participants in the amputee football program (40 males in 5 teams at the start of 2019 to 80 males at the end of 2019 and 30 children boys and girls below 14 years old).
PAFA has stronger organizational skills (e.g. elaboration of a strategic plan), as well as better overall leadership and strategic thinking. Increased quality of coaching is evident.
Participants show increased perception of self-worth, increased community participation outside of amputee football, and increased physical ability.

Conclusion(s): The sports program for amputees in Gaza has made great advancements in the past year as a result of good collaboration and continued focus by ICRC PRP and PAFA. Opportunities for social inclusion now are available to more people as increased participation demonstrates. Many participants show a better quality of life through social inclusion activities.

Implications: Amputee football has been an effective way to boost social inclusion for PwDs in the Gaza Strip. To ensure effectiveness a true partnership approach has been important, with a trusting relationship between partners being central.

Funding, acknowledgements: None

Keywords: Gaza, amputee football, ICRC- Physical rehabilitation

Topic: Disability & rehabilitation

Did this work require ethics approval? No
Institution: Not ethics approval required
Committee: Not ethics approval required
Reason: Not ethics approval required

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

Back to the listing