Have you ever thought about how blind or vision-impaired fans “watch” sports? It’s okay if you haven’t; until I needed to, I hadn’t thought about it either. The current pathway is to attend the venue and rely on either radio commentary or people they’re with to give a really good description of the game. Sadly though, that’s not always the best solution; if other attendees are passionate about the game, they get caught in the moment and forget to share what’s happening, and radio commentary is good but not great for those who can’t see.

Telstra has today launched its innovative “Touch and Track” tablet. The device turns an AFL game into a haptic experience that makes games easier to follow for the vision impaired.

Given the current prototype status of the device, there’s a lot of work going on to ready a full version prior to the 2023 AFL season. For me, there’s a personal connection with my son, but there are members of the AFL community who have a deep personal connection too; Carlton Football Club young gun Corey Durdin said:

I’m really looking forward to how technology is going to make the game more inclusive to people like my sister Shianne.

There is a hope that one day, this technology will be available in all AFL stadiums within Australia. In the short term, this is an amazing starting point that warmed my heart this morning reading the press release. I, too, am excited to see how technology can build inclusivity in not just AFL but other sports in the future.

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Great article, Phil! Thanks for highlighting this piece and information and thanks for sharing. There’s hope that lads like your son can have a better experience, similar to the one that we take for granted, each and every day.