Nearly five years ago, a German woman by the name of Anna-Maria Adelmann lost almost all of her vision. An avid soccer fan, Adelmann knew that her passion for watching the games would soon come to an end. Her team of choice is FC Augsburg, a member of the Bundesliga, which is the top soccer league in Germany.
The Bundesliga has offered accommodations for the blind since 2005, but the stadium for FC Augsburg has only recently added ten seats for the vision impaired. You may be wondering, however, how it has been made possible for the blind to “watch” soccer games.
Those who commentate for the blind have a much different job than the TV commentators. The commentators for the blind talk constantly for 45 minutes and essentially narrate the entire game to the blind fans. For the vision impaired, what could happen after a player passes the ball to another player doesn’t matter as much as what is happening right now. In order for the blind to actually hear what is going on, they receive a special headset before making their way to their designated seats in the stadium.
For example, if, during the game, some of the players get into a fight, the commentator won’t just say, “One member from the opposing team pushed a FC Augsburg player over.” Instead, they will narrate the entire fight and state what exactly caused the fight (assuming they know the real reason).
I think it is great that soccer stadiums are starting to accommodate the blind. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t enjoy the game, too. These new additions to the stadiums should set an example for other sports and their arenas. Germany and its people are so devoted to soccer, and the need to accommodate everyone is absolutely essential.