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Specialized soccer equipment for blind missing from camp

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LEHI — A sports camp for the blind and visually impaired has had to improvise to keep playing soccer after someone walked off with a bag of equipment.

Blind children from around the area are spending a week learning how to play different sports, but the soccer training took a setback when someone walked off with a big black bag full of the specialized soccer equipment. Inside the bag were soccer balls and ground markers that make noise, and harnesses to help the kids learn how to run the field.

"Some of these kids have never been pushed or they don't know how to run quickly, but this equipment that we use, we kind of give them some resistance and tug on them with a cord with a harness on them," said camp coordinator Jalayne Engberg.

Instead of the specialized soccer balls and ground markers that make noise, Engberg said they are using a ball with bells in it, and a ball covered with a plastic bag to perform the functions of their specialized equipment.

We are a small nonprofit organization," Engberg said. "We raise money through grants to have this program work. It hurts."

Camp soccer coach Brandon Watts bought some equipment on his own, but to replace what they had would takea specialized order and hundreds of dollars. He's hoping someone took their equipment by mistake and will bring it back.

The sports camp put on by the Utah Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired started on Monday and runs through Saturday.


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Randall Jeppesen


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