Rockingham Trophies develops braille medal for blind athletes

Winning a medal for a sporting achievement is always an honour.

But for athletes with sight loss, there can be a sense of injustice that medals aren’t always made accessible for the visually impaired.

To solve this problem, South Yorkshire’s family run Rockingham Trophies has created a new braille medal for visually impaired players of the paralympic sport, goalball.

Rockingham Trophies has been working with the sport’s governing body, Goalball UK, for more than ten years, supplying medals for the winners of their competitions.

But last year, Rockingham Trophies’ co-owner Karen looked to changes things up to make their goalball medals more accessible.

“Our business is all about rewarding people. But there’s not much reward if winners can’t identify the award they’re presented with,” she says.

Karen designed three new medal templates to incorporate both the Goalball UK brand and ‘gold’ ‘silver’ or ‘bronze’ in braille. These designs were then made into a die to cast the medals in their corresponding metals.

The team at Sheffield-based Goalball UK are proud to be the first grassroots organisation to have braille medals for their participants, aligning with their ethos of creating more equal opportunities for blind and partially sighted athletes.

Understanding that not all visually impaired people read braille, Karen is already looking at creating a sensory medal as another option.

“Goalball balls have bells inside them so players can track their movements, so the idea is to have a bell inside the medal with different sounds to represent gold, silver or bronze.

“It will take some developing as the medals would have to be a certain thickness to encase the bell, but we’re a small business working with charities and organisations so need to keep costs low.”

Rockingham Trophies are now looking at rolling out their bespoke braille medals to other sports such as cricket, golf or cycling. For more information, contact the team on 01226 743561.