By Vanessa Beasley

Innovative research showing how the health of people with cerebral palsy improves through playing soccer is being spread globally by Curtin researchers via a knowledge-sharing trip funded by a Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) grant.

Dr Fadi Maayah from the School of Education has just returned from a successful visit to Jordan where he spoke about his research with academics and students at Hashemite University and held workshops with Olympic athletes and coaches. Maayah was joined by his PhD student Cameron Lord from Edith Cowan University.

He said the goal of the trip was to establish collaboration and promote soccer participation for people with cerebral palsy.

“As a result of the visit, Curtin will now be extending its global ties by hosting two Jordanian researchers in the sport sciences field. I am also hoping to work with these new networks in the future to conduct some research-based activities with cerebral palsy sufferers in Jordan,” Maayah said.

“I am very passionate about supporting and helping people with cerebral palsy and am also very proud to coach the Gold Fields State Para Team (WA) who play in the National CP Football Championships organised by Football Federation Australia.”

His research, which was based on participants of the WACPF, found playing soccer can lead to improvements in a range of health outcomes for people with cerebral palsy including lower-limb strength, flexibility, stamina, body composition, walking and running ability, confidence, self-esteem, physical self-efficacy, happiness, acceptance of disability, social skills, teamwork ability, sense of belonging, leadership skills, feeling of acceptance, motor coordination, football-related tactical awareness and spatial awareness.

Enhancing ties with the Arab world

Funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade CAAR supports projects that enhance Australia's economic, cultural and social relations with the Arab world. For more information, see the project page on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.