Walking Football and Parkinson's Disease
The Walking Football and Parkinson's Disease Project was inspired by the concept of using sport as a development tool to help people with Parkinson's disease gain knowledge and confidence in a fun and engaging manner. This project is funded by the Vitol Foundation, and delivered in partnership with The Adewunmi Desalu Parkinson's Foundation ( ADPF).
With the support from Dr. Tash Fothergill-Misbah, a Newcastle University researcher, Ben Sadler, and The Walking Football Association, we created a Walking Football and Parkinson's Disease Football Manual to help deliver the project in a systematic manner.
The manual includes fundamental information about walking football, game rules, a sample training session, and five simple but effective walking football drills. Each walking football drill corresponds on purpose to a PD-related message, allowing participants to not only acquire a new walking football drill or skill, but also to learn about or initiate a discussion about a particular PD concern. Walking football drills are straightforward, entertaining, and stimulating. Each drill in this manual will begin with a walking football teaching component so that the participant can become accustomed to it. It is up to the support leaders to decide when to insert the "PD skill" message into the drill. Typically, this occurs as the players become accustomed to the football element. When the active component is completed, the support lead pauses the activity and communicates the PD message using a graphic representation of the activities that the participants have been performing. In addition to restating and reinforcing a deeper prompt on the subject, this allows participants to visualise or comprehend the significance of the PD-related element. This could result in a walking football game. The activities will continue until the participants are debriefed. This is followed by a support group session in which more discussions are encouraged and all participants have a more social experience.
Each drill or topic is typically taught once per week for five weeks, followed by a celebration or walking football tournament.