Trinity Mirror North East is reporting today that 51-year-old blind football player Paul Matheson has become the first visually impaired Football Association recognized qualified assistant coach. The opportunity came about because Newcastle United Foundation and the Henshaws Society for Blind People hosted special coaching training sessions with accommodations for visual impairments.
Matheson is looking forward, and plans to increase his qualifications by earning the FA disability football badge and the visually impaired badge. He is also planning to pursue level two coaching qualifications, and seek full time employment as a football coach.
Matheson lost is vision ten years ago because of complications from glaucoma. An active sportsperson, he gave up playing football for a time after his vision went. After having a period of depression over the loss of his sight, he went back to the gym to get in training and exercise. In 2012, he learned about 5-a-side football from Henshaws community development officer Philipa Taylor , who convinced him to give the game a go. After a few weeks of training, improving his self confidence and coordination, Matheson’s ability to play increased markedly. He started coaching as a way to give back to the community.