Deaf Sport Australia and the AFL recently undertook a survey with the deaf and hard of hearing community to ask them questions in relation to participation in AFL sport. In the 2-week survey window we received 75 responses (32 female / 43 male). Responses came from Victoria (60%), WA (17%), NSW (9%) and QLD (8%).
Of the 75, 25 currently play AFL community football. 85% said they would like to have ac- cess to both an AFL Deaf program as well as access to their local club.
A key comment that summarised the feeling of most respondents and clearly endorse sup- port for the project: “AFL is one of my favourite hobbies to do every day, but barriers about my deafness which cost me – can’t see a bright future to play on a bigger stage … hope things can change.”
We have already established that deaf and hard of hearing Australians are not sharing the same % uptake in AFL in comparison to the wider community with 227 (0.21%) out of 105,700 AusKickers and 395 (0.1%) of 391,000 adults playing AFL.
There are approx. 6,600 D/HoH children and 290,569 D/HoH adults who could potentially enjoy participating in AFL sport if given better opportunities.
Developing an accessible, inclusive and sustainable pathway for deaf and hard of hearing Australians to participate in Australian football will go a long way to significantly increasing participation numbers and importantly boost health and enjoyment in being physically active.