Participation pathways in action: Meet Patterson

Patterson is one of ten players in their first season of football with the Ballarat Bulldogs Football Netball Club, a mixed gender football team for players with intellectual disability. Unlike the other new players, Patterson is the first player to make his way through the football participation pathway for players with a disability in Ballarat.

Patterson started his football journey in 2016 at the all abilities Auskick Centre run by AAA Sport Ballarat. For three years he learned all the footy basics and last year took the opportunity to try a pilot program, ‘Six A Side Footy’ for children with a disability run in partnership between AAA Sport Ballarat, Ballarat Bulldogs and Sports Central. Six A Side Footy gave Patterson a chance to put into practise skills from Auskick and experience modified match play in a supported setting. The program experience helped Patterson to prepare for playing on a full size oval and what to expect when joining a football team.

Patterson (or Patto as he is known among the players) has been welcomed into the Bulldogs with open arms. Now with three matches under his belt and points on the scoreboard, we look forward to watching Patterson and his journey through football.

If you’re interested in football options for participants with a disability, check out these options around the Ballarat area;