Blind/ visually impaired golfers usually cannot participate in golf unless they have a guide. During Easter NCBI and Vision Sport, national governing body with Sport Ireland, knew that the return to sport during the pandemic would be much harder than usual due to the social distancing requirements. They started working on the Pass-Sport system which has been approved under Phase 3 of the Government roadmap for return to sport. We talked to Joe Geraghty and Kristina Millar from Vision Sports and NCBI to find out more about the Pass-Sport.
Why is the Pass-Sport System important in the return to sport for those who are blind/ visually impaired?
Whilst a Sport Ireland general population survey reports record low levels of sedentary behaviour at just 11% of the population, a survey by Vision Sports Ireland, now a part of NCBI, found a stark difference amongst people who are blind or vision impaired. 75% of blind and visually impaired respondents were unable to meet national recommended guidelines on physical activity during Covid-19, with an alarming 90% reporting their physical activity had been severely limited due to Covid-19, largely due to physical and social distancing guidelines restricting the use of guides/ pilots for exercise. Half of surveyed members additionally reported a strong negative impact on their mental health as a result of these exercise restrictions.
What is Pass-Sport?
Pass-Sport is a documented registration system designed for sports-persons who are blind/ visually impaired to return to sport safely. It enables participants to register an allocated guide from outside their household which will enable the participant to travel to and from their sports facility and/ or participate safely in their sport. The programme supports any potential need for contact tracing requirements in place by the HSE and Department of Health.
How did you come up with the concept?
The system is based on that used by Gardaí and the emergency services.
Who can use the Pass-Sport?
Anyone who is blind/ visually impaired can register to use the system.
Do I need to be a member of Vision Sports to avail of the Pass-Sport system?
No, you do not need to be a member of vision sports to register for the system. However, Vision Sport welcome new membership. Get in touch to find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can act as a guide?
You, the participant can select one person to act as your guide and they can be from outside your household.
Does my guide need to play sport?
No, your guide does not need to play the sport but should be someone who will be able to assist you in your chosen sport.
Is there any equipment needed to be a guide?
Guiding can be managed with low contact or use of a short guide tether.
Do I need to register my guide?
Yes. You will need to talk to your guide to ensure that they are happy for you to put them forward to be your guide and register their details on the pass-sport system. You and your guide should only register and participate in sport together if you both feel comfortable and safe to engage.
Do I receive documentation proving I am registered for the system?
Yes, you will be provided with a Pass-Sport which is a PDF document for you and your guide which you can provide to Gardaí/ authorities should verification be requested.
Do I need to follow the HSE return to sport protocols?
Notwithstanding the privileges Pass-Sport provides, it is understood that social distancing protocols and advice from the HSE/ Department of Health and Sport Ireland will be maintained whilst participating under the Pass-Sport programme, to the highest possible degree. Participants and guide/ pilots are advised to remain informed on the Phased Roadmap to Return and Covid-19 via Department of Health gov.ie and the HSE website and phased Return to Sport protocols available via Sport Ireland.
How do I register?
Where can I get more information?
Golfers should also check their clubs own protocols that are in place. Visit golfnet for the most up to date return to golf protocol by the GUI and ILGU..