National goalball team will train in Fort Wayne

Athletes play goalball at Turnstone in Fort Wayne.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Turnstone continues to work to become a leader in bringing Olympic and Paralympic athletes to the area for training and competitions.

Turnstone is an agency in Fort Wayne that provides therapy, wellness, and recreational programs to people with disabilities.

This week, Turnstone and the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) are partnering to create a resident athlete goalball program in Fort Wayne. It will help the agency become one step closer to the goal of becoming a designated U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site.

Casimir Werda used to be an athlete in high school. He joined the army for two years, but was injured two months in which caused him to go blind. Living in Michigan, he always wanted to join the USA Men’s Goalball team once he found out about it a couple years ago. He would travel across the country to train, but now he only has to drive four hours to Fort Wayne to train.

“They’re telling me just to keep it up, keep up the hard work and you never know, I might be on their national team one year,” Werda said.

According to the USABA website, goalball involves two teams of three players each. They face each other across a court that is nine meters wide and 18 meters long. The object of the game is to roll a basketball-sized ball with bells inside over the opponent’s goal line. The opponents listen for the oncoming ball and attempt to block it with their bodies. Once they are able to stop the ball and take control of it, they become the offensive team.

“The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes is excited to establish a residence program for the Men’s National Goalball Team in Ft. Wayne, IN which further enhances opportunities for future Paralympic Goalball athletes and the further development of the sport of Goalball in the United States”, said Mark Lucas Executive Director.

“This groundbreaking partnership with Turnstone will allow blind and visually impaired athletes the opportunity to pursue excellence both on the goalball court and in the outstanding community of Ft. Wayne,” said Lucas.

“This partnership will be a great opportunity to bring a new sport to Fort Wayne and start attracting national recognition for Fort Wayne and Turnstone. These athletes are among those elite Paralympic athletes and we are excited to welcome them to Turnstone and Fort Wayne,” said Turnstone CEO Mike Mushett.

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